Malisse: Hectic schedule may make it difficult for Scot
FORMER Wimbledon semi-finalist Xavier Malisse believes Andy Murray’s tough recent schedule could give underdogs Belgium the chance to ride their luck all the way to the Davis Cup title in Ghent this week.
Murray will have less than a week to readjust since his exit from the ATP World Tour finals on the hard courts of the O2 Arena in London as he looks to lead Great Britain to the crown for the first time since 1936.
And Malisse – who represented Belgium in 15 Davis Cup ties between 1998 and 2011 including a run to the semi-finals in 1999, says it will be tough for the Scot to adjust to the clay court surface in Ghent in such a short space of time.
Malisse told Press Association Sport: “Obviously it has not been ideal for Andy because of the schedule which meant he had to compete on the courts in London and then pretty much go straight to Belgium to get used to the clay.
“It’s not like the French Open when you have a couple of weeks beforehand to get used to the surface. Although Andy’s done well on it before, it’s not his favourite surface and it will be impossible for him to be fully prepared for it.”
Malisse, who was beaten in the 2002 Wimbledon semi-finals by David Nalbandian, is returning to London next month to join the likes of John McEnroe and Tim Henman in the Champions Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall from December 2-6.
And the straight-talking 35-year-old is hopeful he will do so as a representative of the Davis Cup’s latest champion nation provided the team – led by world number 16 David Goffin, who was beaten 6-1 6-0 by Murray at the Paris Masters earlier this month – gets a bit more luck.
Malisse added: “We have to look at what we achieved this year and be honest – we played Switzerland without Roger Federer, Canada without Milos Raonic and Argentina without Juan Martin Del Potro.
“But the current Belgian team has a very good chemistry and while Goffin and Steve Darcis might not be flashy players they are consistent and they have done very well to get themselves in the position they are in now.”