Andy Murray strongly hinted that Aljaz Bedene would get his vote should he win his appeal and become eligible for Great Britain’s Davis Cup final team.
Bedene has fallen foul of a rule change banning players from representing two different countries in Davis Cup.
The native Slovenian, who received his British passport in March, will have his case heard by the International Tennis Federation board in Prague today.
By awkward coincidence, it is the same day GB captain Leon Smith must name his team for the final against Belgium in Ghent next week.
At 45th in the world rankings, Bedene is clearly Britain’s second best singles player, and Murray was effusive in his praise after using the 26-year-old as a clay-court practice partner last week. Jamie Murray yesterday said he would welcome Bedene “with open arms”, and his younger brother appears to feel the same.
Murray, who opened his ATP World Tour Finals campaign with a 6-4 6-4 victory over David Ferrer, said: “My view is that the process has taken such a long time that it is awkward timing now.
“I think everyone thinks that whereas if this decision was made, like, seven months ago, we wouldn’t even be having the discussion. That isn’t his fault that it’s taken such a long time. It’s also not his fault that it’s 10 days before the Davis Cup final.
“I’m not the one that makes the rules. If he wins his appeal and is able to play, then, if I’m the captain, I’m picking my strongest team to try and win.
“But that’s Leon’s decision. That’s what he’s paid to do. I’m sure he’ll make the right one and give us the best chance to win.”
Smith certainly is not short of options.
As well as Bedene, James Ward, Beverley’s Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans are all in contention for the second singles spot.
Edmund and Evans pushed their cases by both winning Challenger Tour titles on Sunday but Ward has the most experience.
Murray had expected to struggle with his timing early on against Ferrer having spent much of the build-up playing on clay.
He faced a break point in the first game at the O2 Arena, but quickly grew into the match.
Murray, who will face either Stan Wawrinka or Rafael Nadal tomorrow, now only needs one more victory to guarantee he will finish the year ahead of Roger Federer at world No 2.