Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans have been selected as the singles players for next week’s Davis Cup quarter-final against France in Rouen, after Andy Murray was ruled out by what his brother Jamie called “a tear in the elbow”.
In the absence of any update from his management team, Murray’s likely lay-off period remains the subject of speculation. Davis Cup captain Leon Smith suggested yesterday that “Andy needs to build himself back up and hopefully he can be back for Monte Carlo [which starts on April 16]”, although that sounds optimistic, given that it would represent a rest period of less than four weeks.
Another ticklish question relates to the exhibition match that Murray is supposed to be playing against Roger Federer – the Match for Africa – in Zurich on April 10, just 24 hours after the Davis Cup quarter-final finishes. Federer is supposed to be coming to Glasgow in November for another charity exhibition – Andy Murray Live – so he might feel extra obligation to fulfil the date.
The absence of the world No 1 from Rouen leaves Smith and his cohorts with only the faintest chance of success. Evans, in particular, is no friend of clay – the surface chosen for this indoor tie. He has not played on the red stuff for almost two years and, when asked about the prospect last week in Miami, he grinned ruefully and replied: “What a spectacle that will be.”
Des étoiles plein les yeux, je vous annonce la naissance de notre fils ! ���� pic.twitter.com/hM5XZrFYXY
— Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (@tsonga7) March 24, 2017
Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot make up the remainder of the four-man team, though they will only turn out for the doubles rubber on Saturday. “Not having Andy is obviously a big loss,” said Smith in a statement, “but most importantly we all wish him well for a speedy recovery.”
France are also missing their two leading singles players, but can still call upon Lucas Pouille and Gilles Simon, who are both ranked in the top 25. The doubles pairing will be Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, a lethal combination who have won two major titles together, including last year’s Wimbledon.