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Friday, January 30, 2009

Rusedski plans surprise comeback

Former British number one Greg Rusedski is planning a comeback at the age of 35 after almost two years in retirement.

The former US Open finalist wants to play again for Britain in the Davis Cup, but team captain John Lloyd told BBC Sport he had turned down his offer.

"I've asked for wildcards into some [ATP] events, so I'm going to see what happens," said Rusedski.

"It's another option for John if he wants it. If he doesn't and I don't have any form, well fair enough."

Rusedski told Eurosport: "I've always been passionate about the Davis Cup and feel I can give something back, whether it's in doubles or it's in singles."

He admitted Lloyd's rejection had come as a blow.

"Obviously anyone would be disappointed," he said. "To at least have a shot there, to play a few events, would have been nice.

"So I'm going to go into the [ATP] events and see what happens and take it from there."

The final years of Rusedski's career were plagued by injury, but he said: "Two years off and now being back in training for two-and-a-half months, the body feels great."

Lloyd told BBC Radio Five Live tennis correspondent Jonathan Overend that he had listened to Rusedski's request for a Davis Cup return but opted against it.

"We talked about it and I thought about it and I called him up the next day and told him this was not the right time," he said.

"I thanked him for desperately wanting to do it but I felt it was the time to move on with younger players."

Since retiring from tennis in April 2007, Rusedski has taken up a role at the Lawn Tennis Association to help identify and develop talented youngsters.

The Canadian-born 18-time ATP Tour winner had dismissed rumours of a Davis Cup comeback in September.

His return is totally reliant on tournaments giving him wild cards, and the likelihood is that he will swiftly abandon it if his requests are turned down.

Lloyd, however, did offer the big-serving left-hander encouragement for the future.

"If he was still willing to play tournaments and play enough matches then maybe we could talk again," he added.

"You know what you're going to get with Greg, someone who's going to fight 110% for every point."

Meanwhile, Lloyd has discarded Alex Bogdanovic for the Britain's match against Ukraine in Glasgow in March.

Lloyd has lost patience with the 24-year-old, who has not won a meaningful Davis Cup singles match in six attempts.

"I believe that Alex has had a lot of opportunities and he hasn't been successful," said Lloyd.

"It's time to move on and give other people a chance."

Lloyd will instead hold a play-off for the other singles places on his team between Josh Goodall, James Ward, Alex Slabinsky, Jamie Baker, Dan Evans and Colin Fleming.

Jamie Murray's place in the team is far from secure as he struggles to find his form in doubles.

Lloyd will pick only one doubles specialist and Murray faces strong competition from Ross Hutchins for that place.

"It's going to come down to results and at the moment Ross Hutchins is the form player," said Lloyd.

"I hope that Jamie gets himself sharp and wins matches because it's going to come down to that."

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