By Ros Satar

  • Andy and Jamie Murray ready for Davis Cup duty against the French at Queen’s
  • Andy Murray admits he thought about semi-final loss to Roger Federer for days
  • Draw takes place on Friday

LONDON, UK – Britain’s Davis Cup team seemed in good, if cautious spirits as they prepare to face the French at Queen’s in the Davis Cup quarter-final.

The team have been together now for the last couple of days, after Andy Murray bowed out in the semi-final against Roger Federer on Friday, and Jamie Murray a day later in the men’s doubles final on Saturday, but the Murrays

Team captain Leon Smith said: “(James) Wardy and Dom (Inglot) have had a few more days practice here, which has been really good, and Andy and Jamie obviously a little bit later to recover from Wimbledon. But we’ve had a couple of great days as a team together, it’s been good fun.”

The grounds have caused a few practical issues though, with scant time to recover the courts between the end of Queen’s and the start of the tie.

Smith explained: “There are limitations. We have about an hour and half a day per nation and partly to preserve the court by not doing much serving on it. Obviously in doubles a lot of it is built around serving and returning, and quicker points, so we might as well do that on the outside courts, and then free up the centre court for practice for the singles, bit more extended rallies. This place is great because we’ve got two courts outside the whole time.”

As always though, there is a lot of focus on the British No. 1 and World No. 3 as a pivotal member of the team, although Ward is renowned for his five set comebacks against class players, as Jamie joked that it is not always down to the doubles as Ward keeps winning.

Smith elaborated: “Everyone’s going to be important, that’s the bottom line. If you go on paper, then of course the doubles becomes the obvious one but you just can’t do that, every match is too difficult, everyone’s got a chance. We’re not naïve enough to think about how tough the matches are for everyone. But everyone’s played well, the whole team, both teams have played well. And in DC before, we’ve seen things happen. Upset of rankings… it’s very different playing for your country than for an individual and some players do that better than others and we have to hope that on the day we can get three points on the board. I’m sure we can but it’s going to be very difficult.”

French team captain Arnaud Clement made light of the choice of grass, pointing out that his team have played on all surfaces all over the world, in tournaments and in Davis Cup.

Murray admitted that he had needed a few days off after his loss to Federer, saying: “I still thought about it most days, yeah. I did say at the time, the guy served over 80% the first and third set. That’s won’t happen to me for the rest of the year.

“You have to look at the match and see what’s happened and analyse it a little bit and look at the tournament as a whole, and Queen’s as well and think about those things and see what I can do better in the future. It doesn’t take one day, there’s a lot of preparation goes into those events and you need to take your time. When you are finished you need to analyse what’s gone right and wrong and things you can do to improve in the future.”

The team has become a close knit one over the past few ties, with Ward being a deserved stalwart in the side, and Murray went on to explain:

“I would say in the last couple of years, everyone’s played their part and all of the matches that have been played, obviously James has won some big singles marches. Even though Jamie and Dom (Inglot) didn’t get the win in Glasgow, they played a great match against the Bryan bros and I think over the last couple of years we’ve had some great performances and I think this is our level now, as a team, and this weekend is going to be a tough ask against four top grass court players. They’re all really really good players, it’s going to be a tough challenge for us but we have an opportunity win it with playing our best level.”

He did not rule out the possibility of playing all three days, but said a lot would depend on how Friday’s match went. Meanwhile Jamie could take a lot of positives from his run to the final with Australian partner John Peers.

He said: “It was great success obviously, for us to get to the final was a huge result I think. Once you get there you really want to win, that didn’t happen. Obviously a disappointment but over the course of the two weeks we played a lot of good tennis, beat a lot of good teams and I think it’s a big for us in our partnership moving forwards.”

He will either partner fellow doubles specialist Inglot of his brother in the often pivotal doubles rubber on the Saturday.

The draw takes place on Thursday afternoon, with play scheduled to start on Friday at Queen’s Club at 12:30pm BST.


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