Malisse: Hec­tic sched­ule may make it dif­fi­cult for Scot

The Herald - Sport - - TENNIS -

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.”

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