Andy Murray is set to make his first Davis Cup appearance for two years this weekend, as the Wimbledon champion leads Great Britain into their World Group play off against a depleted Croatia team on the clay courts of Umag.
Although Croatia are seeded and hold the home advantage, they go into the tie as underdogs due to the absence of their number one singles player Marin Cilic, who is alleged to have failed a recent drugs test, and the giant serving Ivo Karlovic.
Britain on the other hand will be at full strength; Murray will be joined by rising star Dan Evans whose run through to the third round of the US Open moved him into the world’s top 150. While the doubles specialists Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray make up the other two places in the team.
In today's opening rubber Murray will face 16-year-old Borna Coric who won the US Open boys junior title last week but is yet to play a best of five set match in his career. He will be thrown in at the deep end against the world number three.
That will be followed by second rubber which sees Croatia’s biggest asset, world number 35 Ivan Dodig, take on Evans in a match the hosts will be desperate to win given Coric’s slim chance against Murray.
Saturday’s doubles could be pivotal and GB captain Leon Smith is expected to partner Fleming with Murray, as the pair reached the final of the Masters 1000 event in Montreal earlier this month. They are likely to play Dodig and 20-year-old Mate Pavic who will also participate in his first Davis Cup rubber.
The reverse singles will take place on Sunday’s climax, as Britain aim to revisit the elite World Group for the first time since 2008.