Davis Cup chief positive Murray will return to bolster Britain

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Davis Cup captain Leon Smith is confident Andy Murray will return to the Great Britain team next year and believes he could even lead the side to the title in the future.

Murray missed both of Britain’s matches this year as he concentrated on his attempt to win a grand slam, which bore fruit at the US Open in September.

This could make him more likely to compete when Britain face Russia in Europe/Africa Zone Group I in April, a tie the hosts would be rank outsiders to win without him.

Smith, who is also the Lawn Tennis Association’s head of men’s and women’s tennis, said: “I had a really positive conversation with him just before he left for Asia (last month) and we talked about all things Davis Cup, not just about that tie itself.

“I would say I left there positive about it and clear on some of the things we can look at to help it fit with his schedule in a more appealing way. I’ll keep talking with Andy over the next couple of months, I’ll see him during pre-season when he’s out in Miami and continue those conversations.

“But the way the top three and four are, it’s such fine lines in terms of becoming a slam champion or No 1 in the world, which is obviously a goal. I’d still rather him do that.

“Yes, we want him playing Davis Cup, and it would be great to do both, but what he did at the 
US Open is clearly a massive boost for the whole sport. But I’m feeling positive.”

The problem for Smith remains the huge gap behind Murray, with Josh Goodall, the British No 2, at 236 in the world.

On Murray’s immediate agenda is making sure he qualifies for the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London when he meets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the O2 Arena tonight.

With Novak Djokovic taking on Tomas Berdych earlier in the day, the US Open champion will at least know what he needs to do but, irrespective of that result, a straight-sets win for Murray would be enough.

Such are the complications of the round-robin system that Murray could lose and go through or win and go out, but the Scot has won his last five matches against Tsonga.

Defending champion Roger 
Federer defeated David Ferrer for the 14th successive time to book his place in the semi-finals.

The second seed still has a final Group B match to come against Juan Martin Del Potro tomorrow but his 6-4 7-6 (7/5) victory was his second straight-sets win of the tournament and means he cannot be denied a spot in the last four.

Ferrer went into the game on an 11-match winning run but he had managed only three sets in his previous meetings with Federer.