The Davis Cup has and is still seen by many of the top players as a distraction to their individual targets, however, Great Britain’s surprising progress in this year’s competition can only be seen as a good thing for their number one man.
Andy Murray overcame Sam Querrey on the San Diego clay to send Great Britain in to the Davis Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 1986 and by doing so has given himself a further opportunity to go further at the French Open than ever before.
Leon Smith’s team now face Italy, who progressed past a Juan Martin Del Potro-less Argentina, to book their place in the last-eight and with the Italians given the choice of ground another meeting on the dirt looks certain.
This will be perfect preparation for the Scot as the tie takes place in the thick of the clay-court swing just a month before the Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
Despite the high level reached against Querrey no-one should be getting carried away with his chances in Paris.
It was his sixth consecutive victory over the American after-all and odds of 12/1 that he adds the French Open to his US and Wimbledon titles are realistic considering the 26-year-old has only reached one semi-final there.
However, it was encouraging to see the stress-free way Murray negotiated past a fired-up opponent who was desperate to make amends for losing what turned out to be the crucial rubber against world number 175 James Ward on the Friday.
Mentally, but more importantly physically, the two-time Grand Slam winner was at his best throughout with no signs that the back surgery he had this winter or any other previous ailments were having an ill effect.
It would be no surprise to see Murray still in the draw when only eight players remain for the second major of the year considering he has reached that stage at least in the last dozen Grand Slams he has entered.
The real test will of course come when facing Rafael Nadal which Murray would almost certainly have to do at some point if he was to win.
That would give the most accurate reading of where Murray’s level is on the surface at the moment but the fact that he will have played more competitive matches – and in the best-of-five format – on clay than in previous years can only be seen as positive for now.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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