Davis Cup quarters: Edmund star of GB v Serbia tie after multiple pull-outs
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | July 14, 2016
Serbia v Great Britain
- 2016 Davis Cup
- Friday, July 15th – Sunday 17th
- Scheduled on court: 15:00 BST
- Tasmajdan Stadium, Belgrade (clay)
- Live on BBC 2
Edmund the highest ranked player of tie
Great Britain’s 2016 Davis Cup quarter-final clash with Serbia was set up to be a tasty tie after they knocked out Japan and Kazakhstan respectively, but two high-profile player withdrawals from each nation has now meant the occasion has become somewhat of a damp squib.
Recent Wimbledon winner Andy Murray and ATP world number one Novak Djokovic have decided to take a rest, while top 75-ranked duo Dan Evans and Viktor Troicki have also pulled out.
That leaves Kyle Edmund as the highest-ranked singles player left in the tie at 67, with Serbian opponent Dusan Lajovic not too far behind at 81.
James Ward (240) and former world number eight Janko Tipsarevic (now 405) are the other representatives for Team GB and Serbia.
Murray “earned the right” to miss tie
On Murray’s decision, Great Britain captain Leon Smith said: “He’s obviously had an amazing moment again in his life and has enjoyed that moment. He’s got to be careful with his own commitments.
“This date is a real nightmare for everybody, not just him. It’s a big commitment for all these guys to be here, to have to switch surface yet again. I think it’s a real shame the best players aren’t playing again.
“But what we’ve got is a great bunch of guys who totally respect Andy’s decision. Hopefully he’ll come out and support the team, which would be great because his commitment’s been amazing.
“I think he’s earned the right [to miss the tie]. We’re looking forward to it and, if we manage to do it, it can be even sweeter.”
Murray-less GB fancied on the road in Serbia
Due to their collective ATP ranking, Great Britain are the odds-on 8/11 favourites with Coral to progress to the semis as they aim to continue the their title defence. Argentina or Italy await the victor in the next round.
Doubles could also be an area that the visitors could gain a crucial point in, as Smith’s Team GB boast world number one in his discipline Jamie Murray, as well as Dominic Inglot (29th).
Djokovic played doubles for Serbia last time out with veteran Nenad Zimonjic, but lost in straight sets to Kazakhstan’s pairing. One of the singles players or Filip Krajinovic will replace the superstar Serb to partner Zimonjic.
Edmund kicks off the tie against Tipsarevic and, although they have never met before, it is the young Englishman who goes into the match as odds-on 8/13 favourite.
The South African-born Yorkshireman notably led David Goffin 2-0 in last year’s final against Belgium, before eventually losing, but showed that he can more than compete with the best on the big stage.
Aged 32 and way down the rankings, it is fair to say that the bespectacled Tipsarevic is past his best, and so is 3/1 to lose 3-1 on this occasion.
Ward can test top 100-ranked Lajovic
Lajovic is heavily fancied to likely level up the tie later on Friday against Ward, who himself has dropped down the standings.
Londoner Ward, though, tends to play his best tennis either in Britain or in the Davis Cup, as he beat the likes of USA’s John Isner in GB’s successful title campaign last year.
He is 5/2 to cause another upset, but Lajovic, who favours clay having reached the French Open fourth round in 2014 (his best Grand Slam display), is heavily fancied at 3/10 to come through in front of his home crowd.
This match has the potential to go all the way, though, so why not take tasty odds of 11/4 for there to be more than 4.5 sets?
Make sure to tune in to back Team GB on their quest for a second successive Davis Cup crown! They are 10/3 second-favourites in the outright market behind France.
Coral’s top tip: Back Edmund at a tasty 3/1 price to beat veteran Tipsarevic 3-1.