GLASGOW (AFP) – Andy Murray says he is hoping to build on the best year of his career by leading Great Britain past Argentina to their second consecutive Davis Cup final.
The Scot spearheaded Team GB s charge to Davis Cup glory last year when their defeat of Belgium in the final saw them claim victory in the competition for the first time in 79 years.
The 29-year-old is in the form of his career having already won a second Wimbledon title, a second Olympic gold medal and reached the final of the Australian and French Opens this season.
Captain Leon Smith s team go into this weekend s semi-final clash against Argentina at Glasgow s Emirates Arena as favourites to progress to the final where they will face either France or Croatia.
The best-of-five tie opens with two singles rubbers on Friday, followed by the doubles rubber on Saturday and the reverse singles on Sunday.
Murray goes into the tie having suffered the disappointment of being knocked out in the quarter-finals of the US Open by Kei Nishikori in New York last week, but the world number two says he will dig deep for “one more big push” to help his side as they bid to successfully defend their title.
“I took a few days off after New York and came here and I ve been practising since Sunday. I get a little break after I m finished here so one more big push this weekend,” Murray said.
“At the end of last year, Davis Cup for all of us was a priority but I don t think at the beginning of the year we expected to win the event.
“But as you get closer and closer you want to make the most of the opportunity and we want to do it again this year if possible. It s going to be hard and I want to win all the events I can.
“It s been the best year of my career so far and I hope I can keep it going.”
Murray is expected to partner big brother Jamie, who clinched his second Grand Slam of the season with the men s doubles title in New York, in the doubles as he looks set to play three times in three days against Argentina.
Smith is still to decide on his second singles player with his squad in such fine form.
Kyle Edmund impressed many with a solid run to the fourth round at the US Open, while he stepped up in Murray s absence to claim two singles matches victories in the quarter-final defeat of Serbia in the summer.
However, Dan Evans was also in good form in New York as he succumbed to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka following a five-set battle in the third round.
– Resurgent –
The key rubber of the tie will pit Murray against a resurgent Juan Martin Del Potro just weeks after the Scot defeated his Argentine rival to Olympic gold following an epic battle in Rio.
Del Potro hasn t played a singles rubber in the Davis Cup for four years following three wrist operations that almost saw him quit the game.
The 27-year-old s ranking is still recovering following two years away from the game and he finds himself ranked below teammates Federico Delbonis and Guido Pella.
Argentina captain Daniel Orsanic has still to decide whether he will face Murray in Friday or Sunday s rubber but Del Potro, who lost out to eventual champion Wawrinka in the quarter-finals of the US Open, said he would be ready
“I think I ve found my way in the game again,” the Argentine said.
“I m feeling good and excited to be here. To be in another semi-final for our country, is amazing. The captain will decide who is going to play against Andy on the first day, but we are all ready.”
Argentina are looking to win their first Davis Cup having suffered three defeats in the past ten years to Russia in 2006 and to Spain in 2008 and 2011.