Ef­fort to be world No.1 has cost Mur­ray this sea­son, says Davis Cup cap­tain

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FOR THE RECORD - ELEANOR CROOKS

LEON SMITH be­lieves Andy Mur­ray could be pay­ing the price for his ef­forts to get to world No.1.

The 29-year-old has been ruled out of Great Bri­tain’s Davis Cup quar­ter-fi­nal against France next week­end by the el­bow in­jury that forced him to miss the Mi­ami Open.

Team cap­tain Smith has in­stead named Dan Evans, Kyle Ed­mund, Jamie Mur­ray and Dom In­glot as the quar­tet who will travel to Rouen for the tie at the Kin­darena from April 7-9.

Mur­ray had hoped to pick up where he left off fol­low­ing a spec­tac­u­lar fin­ish to last sea­son, but 2017 so far has not gone to plan.

Af­ter a gru­elling win­ter train­ing camp, Mur­ray ap­peared jaded at the Aus­tralian Open and his fourth-round loss was fol­lowed by a di­ag­no­sis of shin­gles. The Scot re­turned to ac­tion by win­ning a ti­tle in Dubai but then came the el­bow in­jury, along with a virus, and his with­drawal from Mi­ami.

Smith said: “Ob­vi­ously he’s had a few things with shin­gles and now this. There’s no doubt he played un­be­liev­ably well last year, es­pe­cially the sec­ond half of the year, with so much ten­nis that maybe the ef­fects of that are tak­ing place.

“But it’s bad luck as well. He’s in great shape. He’s a healthy guy, who looks af­ter him­self as well as any­body.”

There has as yet been no of­fi­cial up­date from the Mur­ray camp on the na­ture of his in­jury or a timescale for re­cov­ery, but his brother Jamie re­vealed at the week­end that he had a “tear” in the joint.

Mur­ray’s next tour­na­ment is sched­uled to be the Monte-Carlo Masters, start­ing on April 16, or if that comes too soon then it is six weeks un­til the Madrid Open.

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