Andy Murray to miss grandfather’s funeral for Davis Cup semi-final
Britain face Juan Martin Del Potro’s Argentina in the Davis Cup semi-final on Friday
Andy Murray during a training session for Britain’s Davis Cup team at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow. Photograph: PA
Gordon Murray, the father of Andy and Jamie’s father Willie, died last week.
Andy missed Thursday’s press conference at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, reportedly so he could attend a family gathering, but Jamie was present.
The older Murray brother will only play in the doubles rubber on Saturday and will therefore be able to go to the funeral.
At the same time, Andy will be playing in the standout — and potentially decisive — rubber against Juan Martin Del Potro, which opens the tie.
The pair battled against each other for more than four hours in the Olympic gold medal match in Rio last month, with Murray eventually coming out on top.
Del Potro’s status as only the third-ranked Argentina player, as he continues to work his way back from a long absence during which he underwent three wrist operations, lent an unusual level of intrigue to the draw.
Argentina captain Daniel Orsanic, though, had no qualms in declaring Del Potro his side’s most important player.
“Without a doubt,” he said. “I think he’s going through a very good moment. His comeback I think is good for the world of tennis so you can imagine what it means for us Argentinians.”
The 27-year-old said: “I will try to do a different match from Rio. It’s going to be really tough but I’m looking forward to do the surprise.
“I will be fresh tomorrow and I know how my level is at this moment. I will try to play aggressive all the time. We’ll see if I can give the first point to my team.”
Del Potro’s sledgehammer forehand is a weapon feared by all in the tennis world and the odds are Friday’s clash will be another gruelling one, although the surface here is a lot quicker than in Rio.
GB captain Leon Smith opted to name both Edmund and fellow singles player Dan Evans in his four-man team ahead of Dom Inglot.
That removed the back-up doubles option, meaning Andy will once again be asked to play with Jamie on Saturday and compete on all three days.
The 29-year-old has admitted to fatigue following a hectic summer that saw him win both Wimbledon and the Olympics but Smith is confident he can produce more heroics for his country.
“We saw last year in the semi-final against Australia, you could see Andy was fatigued and he still found a way to do it,” said the 40-year-old.
“He’s a very robust guy, both physically and mentally, so don’t be surprised to see him do it.”
Edmund, who led Britain to victory in the quarter-final against Serbia in July in Andy’s absence, was given the nod ahead of Evans for Friday’s opening clashes.
Both had staked strong claims, climbing into the top 55 in the rankings and putting in fine showings at the US Open, and Evans could yet potentially play a decisive fifth rubber on Sunday.
Smith said: “It’s a difficult choice because both Dan and Kyle are playing great tennis, they’re pretty much neck and neck in the rankings, they both have really good Davis Cup experience now.
“It wasn’t a question of picking one and not the other, it was a question of looking at how we go across the three days and I just felt that’s how I wanted to start on Friday.”
An 8,000-strong crowd will hope to roar Britain to victory, as they did in last year’s ties here against the USA and Australia.
Britain are hoping to follow up their remarkable Davis Cup triumph last November, a first for the country in 79 years, by setting up a final against either France or Croatia.
Argentina have reached the last four in 11 of the last 15 years but have never won the title, losing in the final in 2006, 2008 and 2011 as well as 1981.