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Davis Cup doubt for Jamie Murray

Britain's Davis Cup captain John Lloyd
Lloyd plans are intended to shake up the selection process for the Davis Cup

Jamie Murray faces a fight for his place in Britain's Davis Cup team, captain John Lloyd told BBC Sport.

"I'm not going to have two doubles specialists in the team, as I have in previous matches. It'll be between Ross Hutchins and Jamie Murray," said Lloyd.

"I think Jamie has lost his confidence a bit. He is a class player. I love having Jamie in the team.

"But Ross is also a good Davis Cup man and he works hard, so in some way that's their own little battle for me."

To guarantee his place in the team, Murray will have to regain the form that helped him and Jelena Jankovic to the Wimbledon mixed doubles title two years ago.

Lloyd will look at Hutchins' and Murray's performances in the next few tournaments to inform his decision.

Interview: British Davis Cup captain John Lloyd

"Jamie and Max Mirnyi last year - the combination didn't really work," said Lloyd. "Doubles is tough and they went through a bad patch. It's trying to find the right partner."

Despite the warning from Lloyd that his place is in doubt, there were words of praise for the left-hander, who celebrates his 23rd birthday next month.

"Apart from being a very good doubles player, Jamie loves the Davis Cup and he's got a Davis Cup attitude," said the captain.

Meanwhile, Lloyd is changing his selection method for the singles.

With Andy Murray's place assured, Lloyd will hold play-offs in London the week before the Davis Cup begins for six players to battle it out for the two remaining singles slots.

"We are trying something different to push the number two spot rather than go strictly on ranking," Lloyd told BBC Sport at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Lloyd says he has been impressed by the Australian method of team selection, which has resulted in success.

"They play five-set matches and the winners play the singles. I have always been fascinated by that," explained Lloyd.

"It's an interesting way of putting pressure on the players to play five-set matches, but in British teams we have never had the depth to do that.

"We need it for the number two and three spots because no-one has really pushed through."

They're all going to be battling it out and they've got to get themselves in very good shape because they could be playing 15 sets in five days

Britain's Davis Cup captain John Lloyd

Britain's Davis Cup captain, who reached the final of the singles at the Australian Open in 1977, gave an insight into the format of the play-offs.

"We'll have six players - a couple of Scots are in there. We're going to play three five-set matches. If one player wins three matches, he'll automatically be in," said Lloyd.

"If there are some ties, it will come down to how they have played, how their stamina is, results in the last month and so on.

"No-one has really pushed through so we want to make them really earn those two spots. It's quite exciting."

The 54-year-old continued: "It gives me a chance to put two players in who don't deserve it on their rankings but on their recent performances, and that is Dan Evans and Colin Fleming, who has really come from nowhere.

"In the last six months, he has done extremely well in doubles and has also played well recently in singles so he has earned his place in the six-man play-off.

"They're all going to be battling it out and they've got to get themselves in very good shape because they could be playing 15 sets in five days."

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see also
Jamie Murray backs brother Andy
21 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Nalbandian denies Davis Cup row
24 Nov 08 |  Tennis

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