Lloyd puts faith in Ward
GB captain insists Ward is up to the job
By Rachel Griffiths. Last Updated: 04/03/10 4:22pm
Ward: To make Davis Cup debut
Great Britain Davis Cup captain John Lloyd says he is more than happy for debutant James Ward to be first up in the tie against Lithuania.
"I think it's good for us that Wardy makes his debut and goes off first without having to wait around the locker room."
John Lloyd Quotes of the week
Ward will face Laurynas Grigelis in the opening match of the Europe/Africa Zone Group Two tie at the Vitas Gerulaitis Tennis Centre in Vilnius.
The 23-year-old's match gets proceedings underway on Friday morning, while team-mate Dan Evans is set to face Lithuania's top ranked player Ricardas Berenkis in the afternoon.
Colin Fleming and Ken Skupski will compete in doubles action on Saturday, with Ward and Evans scheduled to play their reverse singles on Sunday morning. Ross Hutchins completes the British squad.
"Everybody's feeling good, I'm happy with the draw," Lloyd told the Lawn Tennis Association website.
"I think it's good for us that Wardy makes his debut and goes off first without having to wait around the locker room.
"He goes up against their number two who's a good player, but if he plays the way he's been practising and focuses on his side of the court, he should do well.
"Dan is also hitting the ball well. He's the underdog on paper, but if he had to play Berenkis in a Challenger or Futures event, he wouldn't be thinking 'that's a terrible draw.'"
Lloyd has warned his team to expect a lively atmosphere in Vilnius.
"The boys have played in front of big crowds, but I have a feeling that this is probably going to be the loudest they've ever experienced," he said.
"I've been to a lot of Eastern European countries and traditionally in Davis Cup they're pretty loud. But I've told them that the louder the crowd get, that means they're doing some damage and doing a good job."
Lloyd admitted that the withdrawal of reserve player Jamie Baker earlier this week due to an ankle injury was a severe blow to the team.
"I'm absolutely devastated for Jamie," he added. "He's been doing so well in training, so for this to happen is just such bad luck for him."