sport

Edmund set for Davis debut

Teenager Kyle Edmund is in line to make his Davis Cup debut in Great Britain's World Group clash against the USA after Dan Evans was left out.

Edmund, who turned 19 earlier this month, was named by captain Leon Smith in a four-man line-up alongside Andy Murray, James Ward and doubles specialist Colin Fleming for Britain's first match back in the elite World Group since 2008.

Evans has been a key figure in Britain's rise back up the Davis Cup divisions but the tie at San Diego's Petco Park baseball stadium will be played on clay, the 23-year-old's least favourite surface.

The British number two also appears to have paid the price for choosing to head back home following his loss in Australian Open qualifying rather than travel to Hawaii with Ward to play in a Challenger tournament.

In an apparent reference to his decision and subsequent omission from the Davis Cup team, he wrote on Twitter: "Gut feeling normally is the right feeling!"

Edmund is only the British number eight but has played most of his senior tennis on clay and is expected to be given the nod ahead of British number three Ward.

The Yorkshireman is regarded as by far Britain's best young prospect and warmed up for the tie by winning a Futures title - the lowest level in professional tennis - on clay in Florida at the weekend.

Edmund is well thought of by Murray, who invited him to train at his winter base in Miami during the off season along with Ross Hutchins.

Hutchins has returned to the tour in partnership with Fleming after recovering from cancer and had hoped to be in the team.

Smith, though, has gone with Fleming as his doubles specialist while British doubles number one Dominic Inglot is part of the set-up for the first time as a reserve.

Murray and Fleming played the doubles rubber during Britain's play-off win over Croatia in September while they also reached the final of the Montreal Masters together last season.

Murray refused to confirm on Monday whether he was planning to play doubles, but the team selection makes it clear that is indeed his intention.

If Edmund is chosen as the singles number two, it will be a daunting task for the teenager after USA captain Jim Courier named his strongest line-up of John Isner, Sam Querrey and world number one doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan.

Edmund is ranked only 372 in the world but Murray said he thought the teenager was physically ready, and Hutchins agrees.

"He would be ready," said Hutchins.

"He impressed me a lot in Miami. He was training very hard, keeping a very good level, playing sets with Andy, doing well, doing training drills, keeping up, and it was good to see.

"He's a boy but he's a man mountain. His ball-striking is impressive. He naturally has a lot of weight to his shots. He doesn't struggle to hit with the big boys."

Isner, who pulled out of the Australian Open with an ankle problem, is ranked 13th and Querrey 51st.

Murray holds a collective 7-1 record against the pair but has not played either on clay - a surface the USA picked to try to give themselves a better chance against the world number four.

The Bryan brothers were fully expecting Murray to play doubles before the team was named, with Bob saying: "He's not just going to show up there and hope they get through. I think he's going to put all his efforts into winning that tie.

"We've played him in the past and there's a ton of stuff he does well. It'll be a really tough match."

The tie begins on January 31, with the winners progressing to the quarter-finals in April. It is 28 years since Britain won a World Group clash.