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Murray urges GB pals to build on glory

By Eleanor Crooks

Andy Murray has challenged his Davis Cup-winning team-mates to use the success as a springboard to climb the rankings in 2016.

James Ward and Kyle Edmund were part of the four-man line-up that defeated Belgium in the final in Ghent at the weekend, while Dan Evans also received a trophy having played in the semi-final against Australia.

Ward was the only man other than Andy and Jamie Murray to win a rubber during this year's remarkable Davis Cup run when he beat America's John Isner in the first round in March.

The 28-year-old finally cracked the top 100 for the first time following his run to the third round at Wimbledon but has since slipped back to 156 in the rankings.

Edmund sits two places outside the top 100 and next year will be a significant one for him, while Evans has climbed back from a low of 772 in May to 185.

Yet all are part of a team now ranked number one in the world, and Murray believes the trio can do better.

He said: "It's amazing, and we deserve to be ranked number one in the world because we've only lost two matches in the last five years.

"James and Kyle, and Dan as well, the last few weeks they've all won Challenger events. I think everyone believes that all of them can go higher.

"With this coming up, there was a huge motivation for everybody to go out and perform and prepare really well for this tie, and they did that. It's now about taking that form and that level into next year."

Edmund intends to do just that, having been inspired by his first experience of Davis Cup tennis.

The 20-year-old said: "It's just the whole experience, being involved. Being in such an intense environment, you're never going to experience that on the tour so you take that and use it to kick on."

Britain begin the defence of their title against Japan in Birmingham in March, and captain Leon Smith sees no reason for 2015 to be a one-off.

He said: "We should be a team that's very confident, very proud and one that will continue to stick together, because that's the values that we've had right from the start."

• SAM Bothwell picked up his first ATP Tour ranking point when he defeated the number 700-ranked Ukrainian Denys Mylokostov 6-3 6-3 in Tunisia.

Bothwell, backed by the Mary Peters Trust, will not be joined in the second round by brother Peter after he lost 7-5 6-1 to Germany's Andreas Mies.

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