Andy Murray to lead Great Britain team for Davis Cup tie against Japan next week

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Football News

Andy Murray will lead Great Britain next week in his first outing since becoming a father as the team begin the defence of their Davis Cup title with an opening-round match against Japan.

Murray has not played since losing the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic at the end of January, in order to spend time with his new daughter Sophia Olivia, who was born on February 7, and wife Kim Sears.

The 28-year-old, though, has been named in an initial five-strong group ahead of the first-round clash against Japan, which begins on Friday, March 4 at Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena.

Great Britain captain Leon Smith has also named Murray's brother Jamie, Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans and doubles specialist Dom Inglot in the team but will have to trim his selection down to four for the tie.

"I'm delighted to name the five players for this first round match," Smith told the official Lawn Tennis Association website.

"Japan have a very strong team, progressed well in recent years and with Kei Nishikori have an established top-10 player.

"It will be a test for us but I'm confident in our team and I'm sure when the guys pull on their GB shirt they will give their all.

"We are lucky to have another home tie and it's exciting to be returning to Birmingham. Our fans give us incredible support and we look forward to more of the same."

Great Britain became Davis Cup champions for the first time in 79 years in November by beating Belgium in Ghent.

Last season's astonishing run capped a remarkable rise for a team that was playing in the third tier of the Davis Cup before Smith's arrival in April 2010.

The younger of the Murray brothers has been the on-court catalyst with a number of inspirational performances en-route to the final, particularly against France at the last-eight stage.

"Andy Murray has once again demonstrated his commitment to the team and his country in making himself available to play, especially so soon after becoming a father," Smith added.

"His outstanding performance at the Australian Open is further evidence that he is one of the world's best players."

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