Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rusedski Ready to Lead the Way in Murray's Absence

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rusedski Ready to Lead the Way in Murray's Absence

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS JONES

GREG RUSEDSKI has spent the majority of his career battling to stay out of Tim Henman's shadow and now he finds himself usurped as British No1 by Andy Murray.

As a result, Rusedski goes into tomorrow's crucial Euro/Africa Group One Davis Cup tie with Serbia & Montenegro in his regular role as Britain's second-best tennis player.

While Henman has slowly slipped down the rankings to No63 and retired from Cup duty after more than a decade of service, Rusedski remains a key element and is just four places behind Murray, the world No45.

What has changed since last year is that Rusedski is now a father and has been happy to tell anyone who listens that tennis is no longer his priority.

Understandably, his chief concerns are for wife Lucy and daughter Scarlett, although recent opponents can testify that the 32-year-old remains a potent force on court - which is vital for this tie given Murray's worries.

The 18-year-old Scot was confined to bed earlier this week with a viral problem and the true extent of this setback will not be known until midday today - when British captain Jeremy Bates has to name his players for the opening two singles matches tomorrow.

Murray's practice time has been hampered by the virus and an ankle ligament injury that could still force him out of the tie.

It is a measure of the youngster's importance in only his second year of professional tennis, that the tie revolves around his wellbeing - on and off the court.

The 4,000-capacity Braehead Arena outside Glasgow was chosen to cash in on Murray's Scottish roots and is sold out for all three days of a tie Britain must win to have a chance of getting back into the world group.

As Bates said: "Andy has made his breakthrough and established himself in the top 50 but he can be one of the best players in the world. Things are going very quickly and he deserves everyone's support, as that could make the difference. …

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