Andy Murray to miss Davis Cup and says he does not deserve to be selected
Andy Murray does not intend to play in next month’s Davis Cup following his defeat in Indian Wells and says he does not deserve to be selected anyway.
The former world No 1 bowed out of the BNP Paribas Open in California after a straight-sets loss to world No 4 Alexander Zverev. Defeat ends a solid two months of action for the 34-year-old both in Europe and the United States and he is not prepared to risk injury by playing in the team competition.
It was two years ago that Murray further stalled his comeback from his hip replacement by suffering bruising to his pelvis in the 2019 Davis Cup, which severely affected his 2020 activity. Murray wants to ensure he gets enough rest and time with his family at the end of next month before an earlier than usual departure to Australia for next January’s grand slam.
“I’ve given a lot to the Davis Cup, and sometimes to my own detriment physically,” he told BBC Sport. “The same thing happened last time I played Davis Cup at the end of 2019. I know there was coronavirus, but I was struggling with that really up until September time the following year.
“I also don’t feel right now I would be playing, either. Obviously that would be up to Leon [Smith, the GB captain], but I’m not sure I deserve to play in that team. Cam [Norrie] and Dan [Evans] have had a great year, Liam Broady’s in and around the top 100 now and we’ve got very strong doubles as well.
“Right now, I’m not planning on playing the Davis Cup and with the late finish to it, and early departure to Australia, with my schedule between now and the end of the year, I am going to have to rest and take a break and give my body a chance to breathe.
“And I want to make sure in the off-season I get to spend as much time with my family as I can because I have been away from that recently and that will be the case when I go to Australia as well.”
Murray expects unvaccinated players to compete at the Australian Open but says he would support moves by local authorities to impose stricter conditions on them at Melbourne Park than those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Victoria’s sports minister, Martin Pakula, has said that players planning to compete at the first grand slam of the year should get vaccinated to give themselves the best chance of competing in Melbourne.
However, vaccinated players are expected to be given more freedom to move around and may also be able to skip the country’s mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
“My understanding is if you’re unvaccinated you’re still allowed to play, it’s just the rules are going to be different,” Murray said. “You might just have to leave [for Australia] a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That’s the player’s choice. If the local government puts that in place then I would support that. It would be great if more players got vaccinated.
“Australia in particular has been very, very strict over there. The public there have had to endure a painful 18 months or whatever. If people are going to come into the country and potentially risk an outbreak in their community, that’s understandable.”
Murray has shown signs that he will be able to compete on the ATP Tour over recent weeks with some encouraging wins, but this was a missed opportunity to claim a real scalp against Zverev. The Scot says fitness is not an issue, but his form is.
“It’s pretty hard playing top-level professional sport with a metal hip. There’s lots of I guess compensation sort of happening around that area, like the pelvis and the lumbar spine,” he said. “I would imagine my body is taking some time to get used to that. On top of that I’m not young either. I’ve played a lot of years on the tour as well, so there’s some wear and tear in other parts of my body, too.
“This is physically the best I’ve felt for a while. I’m sort of battling my game a little bit, the consistency isn’t there. I don’t know, the decision making is not great in the important moments still. The moments that I was always – I think for the most part – very strong in, I haven’t been this year. So I’m disappointed with that.”
Zverev paid tribute to Murray’s performance in his on-court interview after the match. “He’s the only one of the Big Four that I hadn’t beaten yet, so I’m happy that I’ve done it today,” he said. “I always stayed in the match, even though I was down a break in both sets. I always knew I had a chance. Especially the second set I think was an extremely high level from both of us. It could have gone both ways.
“It was a fantastic match. I thought Andy played extremely well, maybe as well as he’s played since the [hip] surgery. I hope he continues playing the same way because tennis did miss him for a long time and I think it’s good to have him back.”