Andy Murray has urged everyone in tennis to get behind the revamped Davis Cup.
The new-look event, the brainchild of Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, begins at Madrid’s Caja Magica on Monday, with 18 teams battling it out over a week for the most prestigious team trophy in the sport.
The decision to change the format from home-and-away ties to a World Cup-style tournament has been hugely controversial, with criticism from many current and former players and fans.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev is boycotting the event and reiterated his opposition at the ATP Finals this week, saying the new format is ‘not Davis Cup’.
But the leading players whose countries are involved have largely decided to support it, including Murray, who cited it as one of his main goals following his return from hip surgery.
The Scot has spoken several times to Pique, whose Kosmos company has ploughed huge sums into trying to make the event a success, and he said: “I respect that he’s trying to do something new and different in tennis.
“Tennis is not always the easiest to make changes in and this is a big change. We’ll see how it goes. I hope it goes really well because, if it does, that’s fantastic for tennis.
“I think there’s some people that seem to be hoping it doesn’t go well but I hope it goes really well and that it’s a big success.
“The players and all of the fans need to try to give it a chance to see how it goes and I think we’ll have a better idea after the tournament’s finished.”
Murray has not played Davis Cup since the semi-final loss to Argentina three years ago.
Because of his lowly ranking – currently 125 – the three-time grand slam champion will be the number two singles player, with either Dan Evans or Kyle Edmund the number one.
Murray said: “It’s been fun, just being around all the guys again. There’s lots of things I didn’t think I’d get to do again and certainly I didn’t expect to be here.
“Even a few months ago, I was losing in the second or third round of Challengers and was not playing particularly well, so I didn’t know if I was definitely going to be in the team.