Monday, October 3, 2022

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Andy Murray is hoping for a ‘special’ last chance to play alongside Roger Federer at the Laver Cup

Andy Murray is hoping to get one last chance to play with Roger Federer at the Laver Cup next week.

Federer will make the final appearance of his professional career at the Ryder Cup-style event he invented, pitting Europe against the rest of the world, at London’s O2 Arena.

Federer, Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are all part of the European team that will now become a celebration of Federer’s illustrious career.

Murray, who is six years younger than the Swiss, has played him 25 times, with their first meeting in 2005.

Their most famous matches came in 2012 when Murray tearfully lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final before beating him on Center Court to Olympic gold, while they also played finals at the Australian and US Open, both won by Federer.

Murray said: “Obviously he was a great player. I’ve been fortunate to play him in some of the biggest games, in the biggest tournaments and on the biggest stages in our sport.

“I probably didn’t appreciate it that much then, but now looking back it’s quite amazing. It’s incredible what he has achieved and also what Rafa and Novak have achieved.

“It’s a sad, sad day for the sport. Incredible career, the longevity he’s had. What he did (at the 2017 Australian Open) coming back from knee surgery and all that was incredible.

“The way he played the game, managed himself and all those things, I think all the players respected him for that. I’ll be sure to talk more about that at the Laver Cup next week.

“I don’t know how much he can play. I haven’t spoken to him about it. Maybe I’ll get a chance to share a court with him in doubles or something. That would really be something special.”

The Laver Cup should be a good pick-me-up for Murray after disappointment at Britain’s early Davis Cup exit in Glasgow.

Leon Smith’s side were favored to get through their group of four, particularly with home advantage at the Emirates Stadium, but losses to the USA on Wednesday and the Netherlands on Friday dashed their hopes.

Both ties ended in a crucial double gum and both times Murray and Joe Salisbury were beaten in close encounters.

Murray has been accustomed to great Davis Cup nights for nearly two decades, but this has been a bitter pill and there is an irony that the most disappointing campaign of Smith’s long tenure has come when he has his greatest strength at depth at his disposal .

Murray of course wore the team in his glory but with the move from five gums to three it’s becoming increasingly clear that finding a strong doubles pair is a priority.

Britain have four players in the world top 50 in doubles but none play together, resulting in third-placed Neal Skupski being benched in favor of Murray.

Whether the 35-year-old would have played had the tie not taken place on home soil in Glasgow is now a moot point and Smith could give him a singles game in Sunday’s clash against Kazakhstan, who are a dead game with both teams already eliminated.

It could well turn out to be Murray’s last Davis Cup appearance, but he admitted it will be difficult to get up for.

“I haven’t met a player who loves to play dead gum and dead matches,” he said. “It’s difficult to motivate yourself. Of course, the way we lost those two games makes that even more difficult.

“That, I think, brings the energy and passion from the fans and players. I wish we were alive on Sunday.”

Unless Britain get another wildcard for the last 16 next year, they will face a play-off in early 2023 when 20-year-old Jack Draper could well be in line for a debut.

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