Andy Murray’s miserable year ends on a new low after latest injury blow

Andy Murray in celebratory mode

Andy Murray has endured a miserable 2023 and now his year is ending on a low after confirming he will not be a part of Great Britain’s Davis Cup team for the Finals in Malaga.

Murray announced on Saturday that he was withdrawing from Great Britain’s Davis Cup squad due to a shoulder injury.

There were doubts over whether he would play in the quarter-final against Novak Djokovic’s Serbia next Thursday, with Jack Draper in better form as he ends his year on a high.

Draper, 21, was the youngest British player to reach an ATP Tour decider since Andy Murray in 2009 when he reached the final in Sofia earlier this month, but he was unable to find a way past wily French veteran Adrian Mannarino.

Mannarino, 35, has been in excellent form and one break in the deciding set proved enough for him to secure a 7-6 (6) 2-6 6-3 victory in the Bulgarian capital.

Now Draper is set to have a key role to play in the Serbia tie, as he will play the second singles match following Murray’s withdrawal.

“It has been an incredibly challenging year for me,” said Draper. “I started the year at No. 38 in the world and then I just got hit by a load of injuries.

“The one before Wimbledon was a real blow because I didn’t play for a month or two and spent time in a bit of a rut, trying to get out of it.

“My tennis has always been there, it has just been my fitness. I’ve tried to work that out with my team and I know I need to put a lot of work in to get that right. More time on court, more competing, that is what I need.

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“I love the team environment of the Davis Cup. When we are playing in tournaments, we don’t talk to each other too much because we are all playing individually, but that changes with the Davis Cup.

“It’s so nice having Cam Norrie on the bench supporting me and having so many people at the LTA who are well respected, it’s great having them in your box.

“In tennis, you don’t get to experience playing in a team too much. I felt it in the Qualifiers in Colombia (in April) and I just love being a part of this team. We have great fun and it’s just great being together, as that is something we don’t do too often.”

The other singles match is set to be contested by British No 1 Cameron Norrie and world No 1 Djokovic, with the doubles likely to be crucial in this tie.

Earlier this month, Joe Salisbury replaced Dan Evans in Great Britain’s Davis Cup team after the hero of their win in the Group Stage Finals withdrew after suffering a calf injury last month at the Vienna Open.

In his place, captain Leon Smith has opted to bring in doubles specialist Salisbury, who won a third successive US Open title with American partner Rajeev Ram in September.

Salisbury has played in six previous Davis Cup ties and has a modest record of two wins and four defeats.

Smith has opted for Evans and Neal Skupski as his doubles team this year, with the pair winning three of their four matches, including the crucial deciding rubber against France in September to send Britain through to the last eight.