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Page last updated at 09:01 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 10:01 UK

Murray given leeway on Davis Cup

Andy Murray
Murray's presence was not enough to save Britain from relegation

Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper is happy for Andy Murray to miss future Davis Cup matches as the Scot focuses on winning Grand Slams.

Murray hinted after Great Britain's relegation to Europe/Africa Zone Group II that it might be time to give other players an opportunity.

And Draper told BBC Radio 5 live: "What we want Andy doing is putting his focus on winning Slams now.

"That's where his priorities should quite rightly lie."

The British number one won both his singles rubbers but could not prevent a 3-2 defeat by Poland last weekend, which relegated Great Britain to the Davis Cup third tier.

And after the contest, the 22-year-old Scot said: "If I'm fit I'll play in the matches if the captain or the coach really, really wants me to play.

The reality is that Andy is at a different level now

LTA chief executive Roger Draper

"If not they could be looking to the future to try to give these guys an opportunity.

"It's not a huge amount of progress if I win my matches and then we come into this level again and go straight back down.

"We need to make sure the guys who come in are ready and experienced enough to deal with these sort of matches. Right now they aren't."

World number three Murray played in the tie despite carrying a wrist injury but it was rookie Dan Evans who contested the decisive fifth rubber against Poland's Michal Przysiezny, and the 19-year-old looked out of his depth as he lost 6-2 6-1 7-5.

Of Murray's suggestion that he might not play in Europe/Africa Zone Group II, Draper added: "I'd completely understand why he'd be making those decisions because at the end of the day Andy should be focusing his attentions on winning Grand Slams.

"The choice is down to Andy Murray. Of course we'd love him to play for his country, but the reality is that Andy is at a different level now and it may be a fantastic opportunity to start blooding some of these players.

"Now may be the time to get some of these youngsters battle-hardened in tougher environments but you always want to open the door for Andy to play."

Cast a Shadow

The second-highest ranked British male player is James Ward (189), followed by Josh Goodall (235), Alex Bogdanovic (247) and Evans (303).

And team captain John Lloyd has already stated that more determination is required to develop a winning mentality.

"Do we need more hunger and steel out there? Yes we do," he said. "And maybe going down, we're going to be more ruthless with who we cut out of things.

"We can get tougher no doubt about it. I think if we do it the right way and dump some guys who should not, and will not be involved in teams if I'm around, I think we can get a good spirit going."

Asked about Lloyd's future as Davis Cup captain after four successive defeats, Draper said: "The easiest thing to do is to start sacrificing someone. But we are not going to do that. We have a long-term plan in place."

And Draper admitted that the LTA as a whole had been hurt by the latest Davis Cup disappointment but insisted there are young players coming through.

"The Davis Cup result is massively disappointing," he said. "It's probably the toughest two days of my job over the last three years."

He added: "We back the current generation, but a lot of our focus emphasis is on the next generation, players like Dan Cox, Dan Evans, Dan Smethurst, Josh Milton, David Rice and heading them into the top 500.

"We've got a really good group of boys - 15, 16, 17. We have to convert them into hopefully top 100 players. We have a fantastic system in place to cater for those generations to make sure the 15-year-olds do come through."

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see also
Lloyd admits to British failings
20 Sep 09 |  Tennis
GB relegated after Davis Cup loss
20 Sep 09 |  Tennis
GB suffer Davis Cup doubles loss
19 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Murray admits to fitness concerns
19 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Murray wins but aggravates injury
18 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Spain and Czechs through to final
20 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Murray slips to third in rankings
15 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Murray outclassed by superb Cilic
08 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Murray commits to Davis Cup team
23 Aug 09 |  Tennis
Britain slump to Davis Cup defeat
07 Mar 09 |  Tennis

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