Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman captaining Great Britain in the inaugural ATP Cup is “really positive for British tennis”, says Andy Murray.
Murray has used his protected injury ranking to ensure Britain can play in the 24-nation event in Australia.
As the nation’s leading player the Scot can choose the team captain, and his mentor Henman has been asked to do it.
“He’s got a lot of experience, he’s a fun guy to be around and he played lots of Davis Cups,” Murray said.
Henman, 45, has been friends with Murray since the three-time Grand Slam champion was a teenager and has been chosen ahead of Davis Cup captain Leon Smith to lead Britain in the ATP tournament, to be held in January.
Britain have been drawn in Group C alongside Bulgaria, Belgium and Moldova after Murray made a late decision to use his protected ranking of second in the world for Britain to compete.
Murray, 32, says picking Henman was a collective decision of the British team, who discussed their options in group phone calls and text chats.
“Tim hasn’t had too much involvement in the performance side of British tennis since he stopped playing and I think it would be great for all of the players to have him come in and be involved,” Murray told BBC Sport.
“He can get to know the players better, I think he could help all of us and more British players just outside of the ATP Cup team.
“It is a great experience for him and I think it will make him want to be involved in that side of things, which I think overall will be really positive for British tennis.”
The ATP Cup, which carries 750 ranking points, is separate from November’s revamped Davis Cup but could amalgamate with that tournament in the future, according to International Tennis Federation president David Haggerty.
Murray will open his 2020 season by taking on Bulgaria’s former Wimbledon semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov in Britian’s opening match in Sydney.
The former world number one will meet Dimitrov, who reached September’s US Open semi-finals and is ranked 20th in the world, on 3 January.
Murray was set to play Swiss great Roger Federer before the 20-time Grand Slam champion pulled out.
Federer, 38, said it would be “more beneficial” to spend more time with his family before the Australian Open later in January.
The withdrawal of the 20-time Grand Slam champion meant Switzerland were not eligible to compete because Henri Laaksonen – their next-highest-ranked player who committed to play the event at the first entry deadline – was ranked 110th at the time.
Murray told the BBC earlier this week it was “unfortunate” he would not be testing himself against Federer for the first time since having major hip surgery in January.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport