Davis Cup finals 2019: Andy Murray cautious of heavy workload

Andy Murray urged fans to give the new Davis Cup format a chance when he spoke earlier this week
2019 Davis Cup finals
Venue: Caja Magica, Madrid Dates: 18-24 November
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from Wednesday, 20 November; Live text coverage on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Andy Murray says he needs to be cautious about his workload at the revamped Davis Cup finals with the potential for Great Britain to play five ties in five days.

Murray, 32, is part of a British team that plays the Netherlands on Wednesday and Kazakhstan on Thursday.

If they progress through the group they will play a quarter-final tie on Friday before potential semi-final and final ties at the weekend.

“I need to think long term,” said Murray, who had hip surgery in January.

The former world number one has not completely ruled out playing doubles in Madrid, however, as 18 nations contest a football-style knockout tournament for the first time to determine the Davis Cup champions.

Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique has overseen the transformation of the 119-year-old competition into a season-ending finals, which has led to heavy criticism from some.

While some ATP players have questioned the involvement of a footballer in the dismantling of a tennis tradition, Murray said he was “open to change” and urged everyone to give the new format a chance.

The three-time Grand Slam champion is one of three singles players in the British team alongside Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund, while Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski are the doubles specialists.

The Murray brothers have teamed up together to great success in the past, of course, notably during Britain’s run to the the Davis Cup title in 2015.

“The singles and doubles – that would depend on the situation. Ideally I would want to avoid that,” Murray told BBC Sport.

“Playing five matches in five days, best of three sets, that’s obviously something we do regularly on the tour and I did it in Antwerp and felt OK at the end of that.

“If I had been playing doubles the same day as some of those singles matches in Antwerp, I would have really struggled the following day.

“So we just need to be mindful of that and think a little bit long term in this event.”

Murray is ranked 126th in the world, behind 42nd-ranked Evans and 69th-ranked Edmund, meaning he will play as Britain’s number two and leaving him facing the weaker singles player in the opposing team.

Brits ‘let it go’ as they drop in Frozen lyrics

The British squad, led by captain Leon Smith, arrived in the Spanish capital on Wednesday to continue their preparations and build camaraderie.

And they showed the spirit they have fostered at a news conference during which the players dropped lines from Disney movie Frozen into their answers.

When asked about the new format, Andy Murray starting by saying detractors “need to let it go”, before Edmund added “fear will be the enemy” of the British team.

Evans continued the fun by saying he “can’t hold it back anymore” and Skupski rounded off the questions by urging the team to “be the players we always have to be”.

Only Jamie Murray did not complete his task, leaving Evans jokingly shouting the Scot’s line – “the cold never bothered you anyway” – as Murray did a television interview.

Edmund in line for new coach

Britain’s Kyle Edmund is currently ranked 69th in the world

Edmund, 24, is set to announce Argentine Franco Davin, who was with Juan Martin del Potro when he won the 2009 US Open, as his new coach.

The former British number one told BBC Sport they will train in Miami after the Davis Cup, with a view to working together next season.

Edmund has been without a coach since September, when Mark Hilton brought their partnership to a close.

“You never say ‘I’m definitely going long term with him’ because you have got to see how it goes. So we always say you have a bit of a trial, but you always look for it long term,” Edmund said.

“With the experience he brings, and the quality, I’m excited to get going.”

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