With Andy Murray back, Britain should beat Argentina in Davis Cup this weekend for the first time since 1928 and make the final.
Murray has won the Olympic gold medal and made the Cincinnati final and U.S. Open quarterfinals in the past month, but he has enough left in the tank to play singles and doubles, if need be, Britain captain Leon Smith said.
Murray proved his mettle a year ago in the semifinal against Australia, when he won both of his singles and a five-set doubles.
“There’s no doubt he will be tired. He’s played so much over the summer,” Smith said. “Looking back to last year’s Aussie tie, when he was clearly hurting and fatigued, he went out and gave everything. I don’t think that will change.”
His fitness ought to be tested in the opening singles on Friday, when he’s likely to face Juan Martin del Potro in a rematch of the Olympic final.
Del Potro was still finding his form when he played only doubles in the quarterfinal win over Italy in Italy in July, in his first tie in four years. He followed that with his Olympic run, including a win over Novak Djokovic, and a run to the U.S. Open last eight. He’s match-fit again, and eager to repair a 6-2 losing record to Murray.
He’s the lowest-ranked player in the Argentina squad, and captain Daniel Orsanic wasn’t keen to reveal his lineup until the draw on Thursday. The favorite for the other singles spot must be Federico Delbonis, who won his two singles against Italy, and beat Murray in March at Indian Wells.
Argentina is playing a remarkable 11th semifinal in 15 years, but it faces the defending Davis Cup champions in Murray and his brother Jamie, the U.S. Open doubles champion, who will be backed by a raucous home crowd in Glasgow, Scotland.
If, as expected, Britain wins, then it will host the final in November only if Croatia beats France on another indoor hard court in Zadar.
Croatia’s chances improved when Gael Monfils withdrew from the France team on Thursday because of a knee injury.
Last week, Monfils reached the U.S. Open semifinals.
France was already without Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, also injured, and was now being led by Lucas Pouille, who made his Davis Cup debut in July, and veteran Richard Gasquet.
Croatia impressively came from 2-0 down to beat the United States away in July, thanks to Marin Cilic and Borna Coric. Since then, Cilic won the Cincinnati title, while Coric retired in the U.S. Open first round with an inflamed tendon in his knee. He’s had almost three weeks to recover.