Andy Murray joins squad for Davis Cup Finals qualifiers in Manchester… quashing doubts about his availability after second round exit from US Open
Andy Murray has quashed doubts about his availability for this week’s Davis Cup Finals qualifiers by travelling to join the squad in Manchester.
The 36 year-old Scot will take up his place for the four-sided group stage taking place at the AO Arena, despite questioning whether he was worth his spot after a second round exit from the US Open.
Downcast following the straight sets defeat to Grigor Dimitrov in New York, Murray suggested others might be better placed to help Great Britain qualify for November’s 2023 Finals in Malaga.
But now he has committed to team up with Dan Evans, Cam Norrie, Jack Draper and doubles specialist Neal Skupski under the captaincy of Leon Smith. Joe Salisbury, who has yet to produce his best in Davis Cup competition, was not selected ahead of him winning another doubles title at Flushing Meadows.
Whether Murray gets to actually play is open to question, as he has little in the way of current form and there are various permutations open to Smith.
Andy Murray quashed doubts about his availability for this week’s Davis Cup Finals qualifiers
Murray joined Neal Skupski to train for the David Cup in Manchester
Two teams will go forward from the Manchester group, and none of those gathered are likely to be pushovers.
Australia, captained by former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt, will be spearheaded by current world number 13 Alex de Minaur, also known for being the long-term boyfriend of GB women’s number one Katie Boulter. Veteran three-times Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, still a top 50 player aged 38, is leading the charge for Switzerland.
France make up the group and have included 19 year-old Arthur Fils, reckoned to be the best male prospect they have unearthed in years. Ticket sales for GB matches have been strong, and more than 13,000 are expected for the last match against the French next Sunday, the biggest ever audience for a home Davis Cup match in the UK.
Smith has some interesting calculations to make before naming his team for their opening round-robin match on Wednesday against Australia. Number one Cam Norrie has not had a great summer while Evans has been up and down, although he made the third round of the US Open before going down honourably to Carlos Alcaraz.
Draper, 21, was the best performer in making New York’s last sixteen but has had repeat injury concerns, and has yet to make his debut in the unique environment of playing in national colours.
When it comes to the doubles, the preferred option could well be Dan Evans and Neal Skupski, who scored an excellent victory together in Colombia back in February in this year’s preliminary round.
Twelve teams in three other groups will play elsewhere this week. Smith said he would be assessing his varied permutations in practice: ‘It is definitely one of the tougher groups. Every team is pretty evenly matched when you look at the rankings of the players, but we do have a strong team with plenty of options across singles and doubles, and most importantly we have home advantage which will make a difference.’