Belfast Telegraph

Rusedski would struggle, says Murray

British number one Andy Murray expects Greg Rusedski to struggle following suggestions he will come out of retirement.

The 35-year-old announced last month he has asked for wildcard entries to some tournaments and expressed an interest in returning to play for Great Britain in the Davis Cup, but Murray warned him he will find it tough after almost two years out of the game.

"I find it surprising. Everyone is entitled to do what they want but if I was to retire, I don't think I would try to come back," Murray said.

"It's a long time he's been out for and the game is very strong right now. If he goes and plays some tournaments and he is doing well, then maybe he has made the right decision. But I wouldn't expect him to."

There have already been reports Rusedski has abandoned plans to return to the tour.

Cup captain John Lloyd does not think Rusedski will return for the Europe/Africa zone tie against Ukraine in Glasgow in March and Murray insists he must earn his place back in the team rather than be parachuted in on reputation alone.

"I said to John, 'I wouldn't just put someone on the team, that's not played at all, just because it's Greg'," 21-year-old Murray told The Guardian.

"It would be the same if it was Tim (Henman) or whatever."

Murray felt Rusedski should try his luck in the play-offs Lloyd has set up to decide who should claim the second Davis Cup singles berth.

At the moment, six British players - not including Rusedski - are set to fight it out at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton the week before the Ukraine match, with anyone who wins three best-of-five-set matches there getting the chance to join Murray in the singles.

Meanwhile, Murray eased into the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Ivan Ljubicic in Rotterdam last night.

The British number one was playing his first match since losing to Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

He did not reach anything like top form but did not need to against Ljubicic, who is a fading force at the top level these days.

Murray secured the only break of the opening set in the eighth game and moved to the brink of victory with an eight-game winning run.

A lapse allowed Ljubicic to get on the board with a break when Murray was serving for the match but it was only a temporary reprieve as the Scot wrapped things up in his next service game.

The second seed will play Italy's Andreas Seppi, who won their only previous meeting in 2006, in the last 16.

Ljubicic began in confident fashion, easily holding his opening service games and coming up with some deft touches to outmanoeuvre his opponent.

The Croatian actually went into the match with a winning record over Murray having triumphed in two of their three previous meetings.

Their last encounter came in the final of the Qatar Open in 2007, Ljubicic winning in straight sets, while they shared a victory apiece the previous year.

However, he has tumbled down the rankings from his career-high position of number three in May 2006 and is only just inside the top 50 at 48 having struggled with back injuries last season.

Murray lost in the first round in Rotterdam last year to Robin Haase but has improved substantially since then.

The Scot was finding it hard to break down Ljubicic, however, who was trading confidently from the baseline with the world number four.

Murray pushed for a break in the sixth game, one sweetly-angled cross-court backhand earning him a third deuce, but an ace helped Ljubicic save the first break point of the match.

The British number one was not playing anywhere near his best but double faults were starting to creep into Ljubicic's game - his third giving Murray a second break point that he converted when the Croat went wide.

That left the second seed serving for the set, which he managed with the minimum of fuss.

Murray had just stepped up his level enough to give him the edge over Ljubicic and the pattern continued at the start of the second set.

Another double fault handed the Scot three break points in the opening game, and he needed only one to take an immediate advantage when Ljubicic hit a tame mid-court shot into the net.

Losing the first set appeared to knock the belief out of Ljubicic and Murray broke again - his sixth game in a row giving him a 3-0 lead.

Another break came courtesy of a seventh Ljubicic double fault but Murray switched off with the winning post in sight, serving a double fault of his own and allowing the Croat to break back.

There was to be no miraculous comeback, though, Murray making no mistake in his next service game.

Belfast Telegraph


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