Simon Reed

Murray’s Grand Slam pursuit leaves no room for GB

It comes as no shock that Andy Murray is out of the Davis Cup match against Russia in April, but it is disappointing. It is disappointing for the Lawn Tennis Association, who will try to put a gloss on it. It is disappointing for the people that want to go and watch the match in the Coventry area. And it is also likely to affect ticket sales for the event with no Murray.

Having said all that, I can understand his decision. He is preparing now for the French Open at Roland Garros and this just doesn't fit into his schedule. From what I hear, his coach Ivan Lendl is not too enthusiastic about the Davis Cup. Whether he has had an influence on matters, I can't judge. I suspect he might have.

I imagine it would have been a tricky call for Murray to play, but you have to understand that these guys have to be selfish now. Murray is being selfish. I can totally understand that.

It is obviously not good news for British tennis because it leaves us with little chance of winning the tie. Home advantage can take you some way, but it can't take you that far I don't think. I'd be very surprised if we won the tie now.

If you look at what is going on elsewhere, Roger Federer is not playing for Switzerland this weekend against Czech Republic because it doesn't fit in with his schedule. But it did for a number of years.

I understand the Spanish team is very weak for their match against Canada. Spain have been the dominant nation in Davis Cup in recent times, but nobody really fancied the long trip to Canada.

Ultimately, these guys are selfish, but that is what makes them great. You could say it is a disappointing quality, but that is the way it has to be.

Andy played in Glasgow in 2011 and ended up in tears after winning in Scotland, but didn't play last year.

He is saying he is going to be playing for GB later in the year, but that is likely to be a salvage operation because I don't expect us to beat Russia.

From the perspective of British tennis, it is disappointing particularly when you think what they have done for Murray. They bought him Brad Gilbert as his coach and financed that for around £500,000 a year.

It doesn't look very good from the outside, but I can understand why he has done it. Perhaps it would be right to say he is carrying the flag for GB at the Grand Slams. He did win the Olympics for GB which is pretty good.

He was thrilled to win for GB, but was more thrilled to win for Andy Murray. He is looking at matters from his own point of view.

By winning the Olympics, he pushed the profile up of the LTA and British tennis. He did the same by claiming the US Open in New York so he has done a lot for the sport in this country.

I don't think he will be heavily criticised for this decision because the perception of Andy Murray is a lot better than it was since his tears after losing to Roger Federer in the final of Wimbledon. He has worked hard at his image.

He is a decent bloke. Some might say he is a dour Scot, but he is quite funny and is self-deprecating.

I am sure he will be inwardly taking stock of the situation of missing this match while being disappointed he can't be there. But needs must.