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Andy Murray hits back at John Lloyd Davis Cup criticism

Andy Murray (l) and John Lloyd
Murray (l) and Lloyd at last year's Davis Cup tie against Poland

British number one Andy Murray has hit back at John Lloyd after the former Davis Cup captain criticised the Scot's self-imposed absences from the team.

Lloyd resigned as captain after seeing Great Britain, without Murray, slump to defeat to Lithuania.

Last week Lloyd said Murray should not choose when he plays for Britain, but Murray told BBC Radio 5 live: "I would rather he was a little more supportive.

"I have to do what is best for my career," added the 22-year-old.

Murray has played nine out of 12 Davis Cup ties since making his debut against Switzerland in 2005, but has begun to reassess the event's place in his schedule.

He withdrew from a tie against Argentina in 2008 to protect a wrist injury, as well as missing the defeat by Ukraine last year.

Murray played against Poland in September and won both his singles rubbers. But it was not enough as Britain fell to a 3-2 defeat which relegated them to the competition's third tier, leading the Scot to hint that it might be time to give other players 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," said Murray at the time.

Murray subsequently pulled out of the tie against Lithuania, saying he had "a lot of ranking points to defend".

The humiliating 3-2 Euro-Africa Zone Group Two loss in Vilnius leaves Britain facing a July play-off against Turkey to avoid demotion to the Davis Cup's lowest tier.

The Lawn Tennis Association is now looking for Lloyd's successor to revive the team's fortunes, with chief executive Roger Draper hinting that a young coach, as opposed to a big name, is the preferred option.

If England's football team had failed to qualify for the World Cup, would it be OK for Wayne Rooney to say that he didn't think he'd bother playing for them until they had a team worthy of his time?

Former GB Davis Cup captain John Lloyd

But Lloyd believes only Murray's full-time return to international duty will see Great Britain emerge from the mire.

Speaking at the weekend, Lloyd said: "Call me old-fashioned, but when is it a convenience, and not a privilege, to play for your country? I know Roger Federer, and other top players, pick and choose when to play in the Davis Cup. But does that make it right?

"If England's football team had failed to qualify for the World Cup, would it be OK for Wayne Rooney to turn around and say that he didn't think he'd bother playing for the international team until they had some proper matches, or a team worthy of his time? Of course not.

"When did it come about that someone only played for their country when they had a good team? Yet the public seem to have accepted Andy should be playing only when the team are in the upper echelons of the competition.

"The reality is that the only way for Britain to get back to the World Group of the Davis Cup is with him in the team."

I don't really know exactly what's going on, I can only go on what I read in the papers and in the press

Andy Murray on the LTA's hunt for Lloyd's successor

Draper recently told BBC Sport that Lloyd's successor will not necessarily be "a big name", with the vacancy likely to be filled by "a young British coach".

Murray has called for the players to have a role in the selection process, but he insisted that he had received no direct contact from the LTA.

"I haven't spoken to anybody about who I thought it should be or who it will be," said.

"I don't really know exactly what's going on, I can only go on what I read in the papers, and it seems that's what they are going to do [to develop one of the young British coaches]."

BBC tennis correspondent Jonathan Overend said that although Murray had not been directly canvassed for his opinion, the LTA's player director Steven Martens would have spoken to members of his backroom team and his brother Jamie and friend Ross Hutchins.

World number three Murray, meanwhile, begins the defence of his ATP Sony Ericsson Miami Masters this week.

Third seed Murray, who received a first-round bye and faces the winner of the match between Mardy Fish and Loenardo Mayer, said he was looking forward to more success in Miami.

"This is obviously one of the biggest tournaments for all the players," he said.

"I played pretty well here last year and some years back [in 2007] I reached the semis.

"Hopefully I can play well, I practised well and hopefully the tournament will go good."

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see also
Next GB captain 'not a big name'
23 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Draper should leave LTA - Petchey
18 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Lloyd resigns as GB Cup captain
18 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Murray wants input over captaincy
12 Mar 10 |  Tennis
David Lloyd demands Draper exit
09 Mar 10 |  Tennis
GB fall to humiliating Cup defeat
07 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Draper unveiled as new LTA chief
21 Feb 06 |  Tennis
Murray defends Davis Cup pull-out
03 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Murray given leeway on Davis Cup
21 Sep 09 |  Tennis

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