Simon Reed

Smith’s Davis Cup reign already a failure

Simon Reed

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It seems as though Leon Smith was named as Britain's Davis Cup captain with the sole aim of luring his former charge Andy Murray back into the fold, and it has not proved successful.

As soon as the appointment was announced I was sure that Murray must have had a great deal to do with the decision, but he has since distanced himself from a return.

The LTA must have hoped, rather desperately, that because Smith was Murray's former coach, it would attract the Scot back into the setup to join his compatriot.

I think it is a short-sighted move from the LTA, and there is not a chance of Smith taking Britain back into the World Group with the players at his disposal.

From reading Murray's comments on Monday, it seems quite clear that he will not be hopping straight back on the bandwagon to help Britain in the Davis Cup, and so in that respect the appointment is already a failure.

Smith's credentials are reasonably good, and his man-management skills are more than adequate - he will certainly not disgrace himself in the post.

As soon as Greg Rusedski was considered not right for the position, it was a choice of either going for one of the old boys and giving them another shot, or taking an entirely new route.

Time will tell if Smith can improve Britain's beleaguered side, but it is clear to me that no one could have done any better than John Lloyd, who was very harshly treated.

There was nothing that Lloyd could have done to help the team, who have clearly been devoid of inspiration and confidence for some time.

Britain's next tie is a Europe/Africa Zone Group II play-off against Turkey at Eastbourne in July, and Smith will have his work cut out if he is to arrest the team's languishing results.

One thing is quite clear: Britain are in the lurch, and Smith will be hard pushed to reignite a very stale setup, with players who clearly do not have what it takes to be competitive.

I am quite certain that Smith will not be able to take Britain back into the World Group, but he will have everyone's backing as he seeks to do so, with or without Murray.

I think that the world number four will not be tempted back into the fold, but it will be a question of slowly restoring some pride and confidence against Turkey.

Britain may be at their lowest ebb, but Murray cannot change that on his own, even if he was inclined to do so.

I wish Smith the best of luck, but I do not feel that the LTA can cover up their long-term mistakes with a quick-fix appointment, and I do not see Murray returning to spare their blushes any time soon.

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