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Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 08:00 UK

Andy Murray will still focus on career over Davis Cup

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Murray won't be swayed by Smith

Andy Murray will continue to focus on winning a Grand Slam ahead of the Davis Cup, despite his friend Leon Smith being named Great Britain captain.

Smith, who coached Murray as a junior, was confirmed as Britain's new Davis Cup captain on Monday.

Murray did not play in the recent defeat by Lithuania and is not yet prepared to commit to Britain's crucial tie against Turkey in July.

"Leon's my friend, but I need to still do what's right for me," said Murray.

"If I want to play, I'm playing for the team, it's not that I'm playing because Leon's the captain.

"I hope that was not the reason why he became captain. I don't think that's the way to make a decision on something as big as this.

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"I'll have to wait and see come July. But, again, it's a tie that I feel we should be able to win, even if I don't play."

World number four Murray pulled out of the recent tie against Lithuania to focus on defending ranking points.

Without Murray, Britain slumped to an embarrassing defeat against a country with a fraction of their budget and only three world-ranked singles players.

John Lloyd subsequently resigned as captain and, in a later interview, said: "Call me old-fashioned but when is it a convenience, and not a privilege, to play for your country?"

Murray, though, remained unmoved and said he had to do "what is best for my career", pointing out that, even with him in the team, Britain had lost to Poland the previous September.

Smith, 34, has "full respect" for his former charge's stance and told BBC Radio 5 live: "The situation doesn't change. It's still Andy's decision on a tie-by-tie basis.

Smith plans fresh Davis Cup start

"If he decides not to play, I'll respect it because I do understand that where Andy is in his career, he's got a wider vision for his tennis, which means trying to win a Grand Slam for the first time."

And Smith, who coached Murray for six years until 2004, said he understood that his appointment would not influence the 22-year-old's decision and added: "He's his own man."

Britain will take on Turkey in Eastbourne on 9-11 July. Defeat would mean relegation to the Euro-Africa Zone Group III and as the tie comes a week after Wimbledon it could mean Murray will opt out again.

But Smith insisted: "We're not going to try to influence him. If he wants to play, that's great.

"He's an inspirational role model and he's great for the team but if he doesn't want to play, then I'll still call him to get advice anyway."

Smith has no previous experience of the Davis Cup and has never coached full-time on the professional circuit.

"It's a huge, huge responsibility for him," stated fellow Scot Andy Murray. "It's going to be very difficult and he needs to make sure he surrounds himself with the right people to help him and give him that experience."

Of course Greg was very keen to get the job and that is something that is very positive

Steven Martens
LTA player director

Despite his own denials, there are many who believe that Smith has been appointed purely because of his relationship with Murray, not least the player's brother Jamie, who told social networking site Twitter: "Do you honestly think this will make him play?! So transparent."

Lawn Tennis Association player director Steven Martens commented: "We can't deny the fact that Leon's relationship with our number one player is a positive element but that wasn't for me the factor that made the difference."

Former British number one Greg Rusedski, who has been coaching British number three James Ward and also works as a talent and performance ambassador for the LTA, had been among the favourites for the Davis Cup job.

"Greg's role is very important in men's tennis," said Martens. "As a player coming into coaching, he is someone who straight away has made a remarkable impact with the way he works.

"For the moment the number of players he has been directly working with has not been very vast. That is one of the things we have been working on and Leon's role as leading men's tennis is making that happen.

"So Greg is a very important factor in supporting that and gradually growing his scope in men's tennis because we've got somebody coming up from a very good playing career, so let's see that also in his coaching career.

"He can still take quite a lot of steps over the next few years. Of course Greg was very keen to get the job and that is something that is very positive."

Under Lloyd, British number two Alex Bogdanovic was frozen out of the squad after he lost both his matches against Austria in September 2008, leaving him without a win in a live match in six attempts.

However, Smith said he would consider a recall for the world number 152.

"Alex is British number two and by quite a clear way," he added.

"He made the semi-finals in a Belgrade Challenger recently, which shows his level is still very high, he's around 150 in the world and that's the kind of player we need to look at and he could be selected in the future."



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see also
Murray crashes to dismal defeat
14 Apr 10 |  Tennis
Smith plans fresh Davis Cup start
12 Apr 10 |  Scotland
Smith appointed Davis Cup captain
12 Apr 10 |  Tennis
Can Leon Smith save British tennis?
12 Apr 10 |  Tennis
Next GB captain 'not a big name'
23 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Lloyd resigns as GB Cup captain
18 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Murray wants input over captaincy
12 Mar 10 |  Tennis
GB fall to humiliating Cup defeat
07 Mar 10 |  Tennis


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