The infighting within Great Britain’s Davis Cup looks set to continue. After John Lloyd criticised Andy Murray’s lack of support for his country, the Scot bounced back with a defense of his own.
He simply proclaimed ‘I have to do what is best for my career.’
This was a response to John Lloyd who questioned Murray’s inconsistent involvement in the tournament, using Wayne Rooney as a reference point.
He asked that if England fail to qualify for a major tournament against more enticing opposition, does Wayne refuse to play in the smaller games?
The obvious answer is no. If Wayne is to be rested then it’s at the decision of the England manager, who will not want to risk him unless it is absolutely necessary.
So is John Lloyd right to question Andy Murray’s decision to miss certain Davis Cup ties?
After all it’s something of a certainty that if Murray had played against Lithuania then the GB team would not have suffered the same embarrassing defeat. As it has been constantly reminded to us Lithuania have no high ranked players.
Great Britains' subsequent loss to them allowed the media and critics to damage and destroy the foundations the team were built upon.
So from this perspective it seems rather selfish that Murray ditched the tie for his own individual gain.
However I feel we must remember two things.
Firstly the match against Lithuania was a winnable one. It shouldn't really be regarded from a ‘what if’ point of view. What if the players who competed had performed at a higher level is not important.
John Lloyd did not utilise the services of Alex Bogdanovic. This was always going to be a deciding factor.
Whilst we know that Alex has a poor record in Davis Cup matches, he was more accomplished as an opponent for Lithuania. His capable skill set might even have been enough for him to play just one singles match; a singles match that he could have breezed through if he was facing someone ranked three hundred places lower than him.
Secondly, and more importantly John Lloyd and the Davis Cup team cannot justly criticise a player who provides the one and only backbone to the team.
You cannot and must not ever rely on just one player to bring home the bacon. If the rest are not up to scratch then this is for the Great Britain coach to improve.
The doubles team have increased in their potential. Yet when they come up against more credible opponents then they may falter. In this instance even a double of Murray triumphs is not enough.
Therefore the likes of John Lloyd need to step up their campaign to find British male talents, and stop criticising the ones that they already have.
Andy Murray after all is a player at the top of his game. He is a top five ranked player in the men's game and provides us with the best individual hope for success in Grand Slams. Why would such a player give up such a position to play for a team that is so critical of his behaviour, whilst also not providing him with the back up needed to take the fight right to the edge.
If you can play your best and demolish your opponent, but ultimately do so in vain, because the tie is a lost cause overall, then what is the inspiration?
If you want someone like Murray to play for his country more often, then you as a coach and as a team must gift them a valid reason to do so.
Until then you should not complain about one person not pulling their weight, when they are the only ones who currently and sufficiently can.