Britain enter the Davis Cup finals without EITHER of the Murray brothers for the first time in eight years… as captain Leon Smith calls up both Cam Norrie and Dan Evans
- Britain go into the Davis Cup without both Andy and Jamie Murray
- Cam Norrie and Dan Evans come in and are given the chance to impress
- The tournament takes place in Innsbruck, Austria, and starts this weekend
Britain enter the fray of the Davis Cup finals this morning without either of the Murray brothers for the first time in more than eight years.
Yet captain Leon Smith is confident that the improvements in other players can make light of their absence as GB tackle France and the Czech Republic in this weekend’s group stages in Innsbruck.
Smith can call on world number 12 Cam Norrie and number 25 Dan Evans for the task, both of whom are currently ranked much higher than the double Wimbledon champion anyway. In doubles he has two top twenty players in Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski.
‘Both Andy and Jamie have been a mainstay in the team for a long time and played a big part,’ he said. ‘But I think what’s really pleasing is you look at the group of guys we’ve got here, they’re all at career-high rankings, all operating at a really high level. They deserve to be here.’
Andy Murray and brother Jamie (left) will not be part of this years Davis Cup in Austria
Leon Smith has opted not to select Andy and brother Jamie for the upcoming Davis Cup
It is a sharp contrast to when he took over in 2010, when Andy Murray not turning out meant the team was chronically weakened.
‘It was very different. If Andy wasn’t playing, the rankings were not inside 100, maybe not even inside 200 of who else you’re picking. Now you look at the group of players, it’s a privilege to be able to select this group.’
The team appeared in high spirits yesterday, even though the matches are being played behind closed doors due to the Austrian lockdown.
Both Norrie and Evans have had long and gruelling seasons, but the training has been tailored with that in mind.
‘Before we came, Leon made it clear to us it wouldn’t be a stressful lead-up, that we’d have a lot of fun and still be professional but keep the sessions nice and short and sharp. I feel fresh. It’s definitely felt good for me,’ said Evans.
GB open up against France at 9am (UK time) today, facing veteran Richard Gasquet and the fast improving Arthur Rinderknech. Given that the opposition have an outstanding doubles team in Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert they should be a tougher proposition than the Czechs, whose women’s tennis is much stronger than men’s.
Should Smith’s team go through they could meet Serbia, including Novak Djokovic, in the quarter final. If they progress further they will move to Madrid, where the final rounds are staged in the latter part of next wee
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