Andy Murray unlikely to play in Davis Cup quarter-final

Andy Murray may need to sit out the Davis Cup match to protect his back against a sudden change to a clay court.

Andy Murray may need to sit out the Davis Cup match to protect his back against a sudden change to a clay court.

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Andy Murray’s participation in this weekend’s Davis Cup quarter-final on clay against Serbia looks unlikely.

As Murray fulfilled all his media commitments at the All England Club yesterday morning, he was still undecided as to whether he would play but it sounded less and less likely. The best he may be able to do is to go along to support the team but not play.

His back is much stronger and more stable following the surgery he had in 2013 but adapting to clay courts is a slow and delicate business. Jumping straight from the grass of SW19 to the slow clay of Belgrade could be very risky even if he would dearly love to help the team to another success.

“I do think we could win the Davis Cup again this year,” he said. “That would be an amazing achievement for everyone. I am part of the team and I feel a responsibility there to the team and to Leon [Smith, the captain], my brother is part of the team as well which all adds to it. It’s difficult. But I also need to respect that that is a surface that I have had real trouble with my back on in the past and every time I come back on to clay I need to respect that. The surface is really the main obstacle.”

Smith said: “A few messages have been pinging back and forth today but nothing has been definitive. Andy says he is coming out here anyway and it would be amazing if he does.

“Nobody is putting him under any pressure to play and I wouldn’t expect him to in these circumstances.

“But we all know what he is like and if he says he’s feeling OK and he’s willing, then we don’t have to make the team nominations until Thursday before the draw.

“We will not be making a decision on it until then. It’s unlikely but we might as well keep our options open for as long as we possibly can.

“Andy has not missed a tie since we played Russia in Coventry more than three years ago and in that time he faced the United States in San Diego when his back was hurting and Italy in Naples when he was sick.

Quite honestly I wasn’t expecting him to play against Japan in the first round this year because Sophia had just been born after a hard run to the Australian Open final. But then he went out and won that marathon match with Nishikori. His loyalty to the team is really something.

“Dan Evans is out here but he’s not great and the shoulder problems are a lot worse than we first feared but Kyle and Wardy are both raring to go. It’s very hot, boiling up around the 35 degrees mark but apparently it’s going to rain on Wednesday and then get a lot cooler and more pleasant.”

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