Andy Murray has represented British teams since he was 12 and was playing for the country when he won Olympic gold at the 2012 London Games.
Yet, he has found himself having to defend his commitment to the British cause ahead of this week’s Davis Cup match against the United States in Glasgow.
The former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion will be playing for Britain for the first time since he sent a Twitter post in support of Scottish independence on the day of the historic vote in his native country in September. The union remains, but some aren’t letting Murray forget about his opinion.
“I don’t think any differently about Great Britain after what has happened,” said Murray, who lives in England and is engaged to an Englishwoman.
“The whole notion that I don’t like English people is nonsense.”
Murray looked distinctly unimpressed when he was asked Wednesday what the British supporters’ reaction will be in light of his tweet.
“Well, I guess we’ll see at the weekend,” he responded bluntly.
Given he is playing in front of his home fans, Murray is expected to be given a rapturous reception at Emirates Arena when play begins Friday in a rematch of last year’s first-round match, which Britain won 3-1 in San Diego.
U.S. captain Jim Courier certainly thinks so.
“It is a unique opportunity for Andy and for us, as well, to experience the vibe that the crowd will have for him,” Courier said Wednesday. “It is extra special for him to be playing here.”
The bigger concern for Britain’s captain, Leon Smith, will be his star player’s recent form.
Since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final, Murray has lost in the quarterfinals in successive tournaments — to Gilles Simon in Rotterdam and to unheralded Croatian teenager Borna Coric in Dubai. Murray puts his slump down to missing the influence of his coach, Amelie Mauresmo, who was occupied with Fed Cup duties with France during both tournaments.
“I feel like there are some things I need to work on all the time and when I don’t have someone there, it’s harder to do that,” said Murray, who has a 7-0 win-loss record on hard courts in the Davis Cup.
Murray is joined by his brother, Jamie, as well as Dominic Inglot and James Ward in the Britain team. The Murray brothers could be paired for the doubles against another pair of siblings, the Bryans. It would be only the 6th time that brothers have been on both sides of the net in a doubles match in the Davis Cup.
The Americans were without John Isner, the country’s highest-ranked player at No. 20, for the loss to Britain last year but he returns to Courier’s team. No. 47-ranked Donald Young is the other singles player, having been selected ahead of Steve Johnson after reaching the semifinals at the Memphis Open and the final at Delray Beach. Sam Querrey was not in contention for selection because of a back injury.
“Last year in San Diego stung,” Courier said. “We don’t like losing and certainly not at home. The Brits took it to us and won. We are here now in Glasgow — it is a new year and we are a new team with John playing this time. It will be a great match with a great atmosphere.”
Thursday’s draw will determine the order of singles play. Britain and the U.S. played the first Davis Cup match in 1900. They have met 19 times, with the Americans leading 11-8.
The winner will host France or Germany in the quarterfinals on July 17-19.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.