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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Henman decides against GB return
By Simon Austin

Tim Henman
Henman retired from Davis Cup in January 2005
Tim Henman will not come out of Davis Cup retirement for Great Britain's crucial relegation play-off against Ukraine next month.

John Lloyd told BBC Sport he had not succeeded in persuading Henman, who retired in January 2005, to return.

"Tim is not going to be available for this match," the GB captain said.

"But never say never. I would love to have him involved in some capacity in the future, even if it's just practising with the players."

Former Australian Open finalist Lloyd succeeded Jeremy Bates as captain on 9 August.

And he has already told British number four Alex Bogdanovic he will not be selected for the tie against Ukraine in Odessa next month.

I've spoken to Alex Bogdanovic and told him he won't be involved in the next match

John Lloyd

The 22-year-old was beaten in straight sets by Noam Okun, who was ranked 122 places below him, when Britain lost to Israel last month.

The same player beat Bogdanovic when the teams met in Tel Aviv last year.

Lloyd said: "I don't think Alex has played to his potential in his two matches and he'd be the first to admit that.

"I've spoken to him and told him he won't be involved in the next match.

"But that doesn't mean he won't be in the mix in the future - spots in the team are wide open.

"I'm looking for players to prove they want to play for their country more than anything else. If they can do that, they'll be in with a shout."

In an interview with BBC Sport last month, before he was appointed, Lloyd admitted he had reservations about the influence a Davis Cup captain could actually have on his team.

The 51-year-old was particularly concerned that the presence of the players' individual coaches could undermine the captain.

But Lloyd, who was Britain's Davis Cup coach when his brother David was captain from 1995 to 2000, is willing to allow individual coaches to accompany their players for the trip to Ukraine.

And that is likely to include Andy Murray's coach Brad Gilbert.

"Brad thinks Andy would like him to come along to Ukraine," Lloyd said.

"He obviously seems to have a very good relationship with Andy and I'm not going to butt heads with him.

"But having said that, I'm the coach of the team and am in charge.

"If the players want their coaches to come along, it's up to them. In fact I'll be speaking to the coaches even if they're not there for the away ties.

"They spend a hell of a lot more time with the players than I do."

And Lloyd revealed he had spoken to US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe and his Australian counterpart John Fitzgerald since landing the job.

They gave him some valuable advice about how to deal with top players such as Murray.

"They think that with the top players, you are there for support rather than to change their games or tell them about tactics," Lloyd said.

John Lloyd
We used to have a damn good time when I played Davis Cup

John Lloyd

"One of them - and I won't say who - told me they mentioned something to one of their top players about tactics during a match.

"The player turned round and said 'I think that's bull'.

"So I think you wait until you are asked something by your top players and then make damn sure you have an answer."

Lloyd, who is currently in negotiations to bring a "top, top coach" into the team, said he has "absolutely no doubt" that Britain will beat Ukraine.

"This is a match we've got to win," he said. "Then next year will be a time when I'm willing to take a few chances.

"We won't put sticking plasters on, we'll push forward. I'll spend more time with the younger players and decide which of them we're going to take forward with us."

Lloyd, who played in the 1978 Davis Cup final defeat by USA, added: "I want to ensure we have a good team spirit.

"We used to have a damn good time when I played Davis Cup. It was more fun than any tournament we played in.

"We worked our backsides off, but had good fun on and off the court. We'd come away and say we'd had a bloody good week."

SEE ALSO
Britain to face Ukraine on clay
03 Aug 06 |  Tennis


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