Fears over Andy Murray’s fitness ahead of Davis Cup

Andy Murray’s fitness is still unclear ahead of Great Britain’s Davis Cup quarter-final tie against Italy.

The British No 1, who was reported to be suffering from a stomach bug, was unable to attend the draw ceremony in Naples on Thursday.

However he was fit to practise later on Thursday at Tennis Club Napoli and captain Leon Smith is hopeful he will be able to play in the singles on Friday.

Murray is due to play in the second singles rubber against Andreas Seppi as Britain bid to reach the Davis Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1981.

A poor weather forecast for the first two days of the tie could yet mean Murray does not have to take to the clay court until Saturday.

James Ward will feature in the first singles rubber against Italian No 1 Fabio Fognini after he was given the nod over the higher-ranked Dan Evans by Smith.

The Londoner’s selection was not a surprise given his stunning win over the American Sam Querrey in February, which helped Britain to a first World Group victory in 28 years.

Evans dropped out of the four-man team altogether and was replaced with Ross Hutchins, leaving Smith’s options open for what could be a crucial doubles rubber on Saturday.

Plan A would have been for Murray to team up with fellow Scot Colin Fleming, but if it is felt that is too much for the Wimbledon champion, Hutchins will make his first Davis Cup appearance since his fight against cancer.

“As usual there’s been very good team spirit. We’ve got a really good bunch of guys, we get on great and we’ve had a good time,” Smith said at a press conference.

“But it’s also been very business-like. We’re here to do a job. We believe we can win, which is important. We really feel that we’ve earned the right to be here.

“There’s a few challenges: they’ve got a very strong team, obviously we’re away from home again and I think the crowd will play a part, and the surface.

“But I think we’re strong enough mentally and we’ve got enough quality to put up a really good fight.”