Andy Murray feels fatigued but insists he will give everything to help Britain beat France in the Davis Cup quarter-finals – even if it means playing in the doubles rubber today.
Murray beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 7-6 (12/10) 6-2 to draw Britain level on the opening day at Queen’s after James Ward had earlier lost 6-4 6-4 6-1 to world No 11 Gilles Simon.
While the victory was far from straightforward for Murray, he may feel preserved enough to sacrifice his day’s rest and play the doubles, which now appears pivotal to Britain’s chances of success.
Dominic Inglot is provisionally scheduled to partner Andy’s brother Jamie for the match but Inglot has recently recovered from a knee injury and the pairing can be changed up to an hour before the start of play.
Murray lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semi-final only one week ago and his run at the All England Club came after a full week at Queen’s, where he lifted his fourth Championship title.
“I feel fine just now but I’m tired in general,” Murray said.
“I don’t feel perfect but I didn’t expect that after the last few months. I get to have a break after this weekend and obviously I want to try give the best I can for the team.
“Luckily we have options in that rubber.
“We need to be smart and I intend to be very honest about how I’m feeling and then we’ll make the best decision possible with all the team.”
Murray has played only six doubles matches in 2015, the most recent being a defeat alongside Inglot at Queen’s last month, but the Scot has no concerns about struggling to adapt.
“It’s tennis. I play a lot of tennis,” Murray said.
“I hit lots of returns, volleys – a lot of doubles is about instinct and you pick that up from either playing lots of doubles or years of playing the game.
“If I do play I feel like my doubles is good and I feel I’d be able to help the team.”
Murray has now lost only once to Tsonga in 11 matches, including five successful meetings on grass, but the British No 1 had to come through two tight opening sets to overcome the Frenchman.
The second set tie-break was particularly close, with Murray exploiting the home crowd to his full advantage as he saved three set points before converting the third of his own.
The atmosphere was not perhaps as intense as in the previous round in Glasgow, which was indoors, but a raucous group of travelling French fans sparked a lively battle in the stands.
“I’ve never played in an atmosphere like that at Queen’s before, it was great,” Murray said.
“Playing indoors feels noisier but the crowd were excellent today.
“Any time I asked for support they were extremely willing.
“For an outdoor tie it was packed pretty much from the first point of Wardy’s match to the end of mine.”
Ward, who recently rose to No 89 in the world, enjoyed a promising start to his match against Simon but the Frenchman is in impressive form and registered a comfortable victory.
“It’s tough for James playing Gilles who is really in form, he’s playing great tennis,” British captain Leon Smith said.
“He hasn’t had to play many players ranked 11 in the world and it’s a big step up for him.”
France are scheduled to field Nicolas Mahut and Richard Gasquet in the doubles today and French team captain Arnaud Clement admits the rubber could prove decisive.
“The doubles will be very, very important,” Clement said.
“It is the centre of the tie so for the team leading tomorrow 2-1, it will be a great advantage.”
Ivo Karlovic marched into the semi-finals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport with a straight-sets win over Dustin Brown.
The second-seeded Croatian saw off his German opponent, Rafael Nadal’s conqueror at Wimbledon, 7-6 (7/3) 6-3, booming down 23 aces in the process.
Karlovic will face American fourth seed Jack Sock in the last four after he was gifted victory over Jan Hernych.
The Czech qualifier led 1-0 in the first set when he was forced to retire.