GB squad prepare in Ghent
Originally published on 24/11/15
Lining up in the squad are Dom Inglot, Kyle Edmund, Andy and Jamie Murray and James Ward. A final decision is not required by the rules until Thursday, but with the team delaying their arrival in Ghent due to the current security concerns in Belgium, the players have only just had a chance to play on the newly laid court
“We wanted to get here and actually get a feel for the venue, feel for the courts.” Smith said. “That's why I didn't speak to the guys directly about it just yet. Going to wait and see over the next day or two, then speak to them obviously in advance of that.”
Each member of the team has had different preparation for the tie. World No.2 Andy Murray was defeated in the group stages of the ATP Word Tour Finals in London; a similar fate befell his brother Jamie in the doubles with partner John Peers.
Kyle Edmund won a Challenger event in Argentina. Ward also played in Buenos Aires but was defeated in the second round by Christian Garin, a 19-year-old Chilean ranked 323 in the world.
“From Andy and Jamie preparing on indoor clay even before going to Tour Finals and then obviously James and Kyle going to South America, Dom going on indoor clay before,” said Smith. “It's been slightly different for each player, but it's all been geared towards the surface and environment here."
“I think the court's good. I only practised once on it so far yesterday evening. Like Leon said, it has been very cold in there yesterday and also this morning” Andy Murray said. “Obviously that changes the way the court plays and the way the ball travels through the air. Hopefully this afternoon and the next couple of days we'll get to play in more similar conditions to the matches. But the transition has been fine. I'm really glad that I got the four or five days on the clay before Tour Finals. That helped me.
“But I only played on the court for a couple hours in freezing cold conditions. It's kind of hard to know exactly how the court's going to play come Friday. But I liked it yesterday. I think the fact that it's indoors is fairly significant because there's not one indoor clay court tournament throughout the whole year."
The last time Murray played on indoor clay was during the Davis Cup tie against Switzerland in September 2005 when Britain were defeated 5-0 and Murray lost his singles against Stan Wawrinka and his doubles with partner Greg Rusedski.
Naturally both Ward and Edmund are hopeful of team selection and to play singles alongside Murray. James Ward said: “Obviously everyone wants to play in such a big competition, obviously the final. But, you know, it's been a big team effort for years, as Andy said.
"It's not just about this year; it's been about the last four, five years. Many different players, even guys that aren't here this week, have played a big part in that. We'll all work together as a team and fight for the best result for all of us.”
Edmund said: “In sport you want to play, especially for your country. You want to do your best. Whoever plays is going to give their best."
The British team has three more official scheduled team practises here in Ghent and the draw ceremony takes place on Thursday by when captain Smith has to have named the four members of his team.