Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - Page 20 News List

I’m not to blame for British Davis Cup defeat, Murray says

AFP , MIAMI, FLORIDA

Andy Murray was forced to prepare for his title defense at the ATP Miami Masters on Wednesday by mounting a defense of his decision to skip the Davis Cup tie that Britain lost to lowly Lithuania.

The third-seeded Scotsman said that with Britain hovering on the brink of a drop into the lowest level of European zonal play, should the Wimbledon host nation lose in July against Turkey, it’s not all in his hands.

“I need to make a decision of what’s best, not only just for the team, but also my own career as well,” said Murray, who begins at Miami after a bye against the winner from Mardy Fish and Argentine Loenardo Mayer.

“There needs to be a bit of perspective that it’s just not me missing the Davis Cup tie. There are some guys that play very, very few matches that are a lot better players than me,” he said, referring most likely to Swiss Roger Federer [missing], Spaniard Rafael Nadal [injured] and American Andy roddick [opted out] during early first-round ties this month.

“Our men’s side needs to get way, way better,” the only British player in the ATP top 100 said.

Murray said that after losing without flair to Robin Soderling last weekend at the Indian Wells quarter-finals, he has been speaking with his team about strategy.

A troublesome wisdom tooth inflammation has Rafael Nadal on edge as the Spaniard waits to begin his event.

The fourth seed said that he was unable to train for two days after arriving in Florida from California after exiting in the singles semis to eventual champion Ivan Ljubicic.

The 23-year-old said dentists told him he would have to have the tooth removed “but not now.”

The timeframe for any dental surgery could be tight for Nadal, who will start his all-important clay season next month at Monte Carlo and carry on for the next two months before moving directly onto the grass.

Nadal will start in the second round against American Taylor Dent, who crushed German qualifier Rainer Schuettler 6-1, 6-4.

“I’m feeling great,” Nadal said. “I was fast [at Indian Wells]. I was aggressive, I was moving very good.”

“I was very happy how I played. I was playing at my best level during that tournament,” he said.

On court, this year’s slump deepened for Richard Gasquet as the Frenchman suffered a 7-6 (7-2), 1-6, 6-4 loss to Belgian Olivier Rochus in the first round.

Gasquet has not won a match since Sydney in January, where he played the final.

It was in Miami a year ago when Gasquet tested positive for cocaine, an incident that eventually took months to clear up after a ban and a final ruling in his favor last December from the Court for Arbitration of Sport in Switzerland.

The positive test came after a nightclub visit where he said he kissed a girl who had ingested the illegal substance. His lawyers successfully argued that the nightclub kisses had caused the positive test.

German Florian Mayer beat ATP Comeback Player of the Year Marco Chiudinelli 7-6 (7/2), 1-6, 6-2.

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