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friday tennis

FRIDAY > TENNIS | DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP PLAYOFFS: CROATIA v GREAT BRITAIN | STADION STELLA MARIS, CROATIA

After having more time than he may have wanted to recover from his exploits at the US Open, Andy Murray this weekend steps back into the Davis Cup fold for the first time since 2011, in a bid to help Great Britain return to the World Group for the first time in five years.

The tie sees Murray travel to Croatia along with Dan Evans, whose exploits at the US Open – beating number 11 seed Kei Nishikori and world number 52 Bernard Tomic – will move him closer to the world's top 100. British number two James Ward is also in the team, along with doubles specialist Colin Fleming. With world number 19 Marin Cilic ruling himself out of action until an appeal process is completed following his failed drugs test in April, Croatia's team will be led by world number 38 Ivan Dodig. Murray beat him in straight sets en route to winning the US Open last year – but that is their only meeting to date and, with Croatia choosing to play this tie on clay, the outcome is not a foregone conclusion.

The last time GB and Croatia met was in 2007, when a team comprising the Murray brothers and Tim Henman, in his last ever Davis Cup appearance, scored a convincing home victory 4-1. That tie was played on the grass courts of the All England Club however – a surface and an environment that will be in marked contrast to the one Murray and co will find in the Stadion Stella Maris this weekend.

With Britain's record in World Group playoffs somewhat uninspiring – they've won eight of the 18 they've contested – the world number three will hope the winning habit he's found over the past year or so can rub off on the rest of the team.

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