Davis Cup: James Ward faces Gilles Simon first in quarter-final

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Queen's Club
Davis Cup: Andy Murray wary of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga threat
Davis Cup quarter-final: GB v France
Venue: Queen's Club, London Dates: 17-19 July
Coverage: Live BBC Red Button & online on Friday 12:25-19:00 BST, on BBC Two on Saturday 13:00-16:00, and on BBC Two (Not NI, viewers can watch online) on Sunday 12:30-16:00.

James Ward will play Gilles Simon in the opening match of Britain's Davis Cup quarter-final against France at Queen's Club.

Ward and Simon will open the best-of-five tie at 12:30 BST on Friday, followed by world number three Andy Murray against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Britain are trying to reach the World Group semi-finals for the first time since 1981.

The doubles take place on Saturday and reverse singles on Sunday.

The winners will face Australia or Kazakhstan in September, with Britain guaranteed a home tie should they progress.

Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot are scheduled to face Nicolas Mahut and Richard Gasquet in Saturday's doubles, although nominations can change up to one hour before play.

Britain beat the USA 3-2 in Glasgow in March to reach the last eight.

Davis Cup squads
Great BritainFrance
Andy Murray (world number three)Gilles Simon (world number 11)
Jamie Murray (world number 20 in doubles)Richard Gasquet (world number 13)
James Ward (world number 89)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (world number 12)
Dom Inglot (world number 40 in doubles)Nicolas Mahut (world number 22 in doubles)

Gasquet the surprise omission

French captain Arnaud Clement described himself as a "lucky captain" with three of the world's top 13 singles players to call upon, along with last month's Queen's Club doubles champions.

The big decision on Thursday was who to leave out of the opening matches, and it is world number 13 and Wimbledon semi-finalist Gasquet.

"Richard just needs a little more time for recovery after his semi-final last week," said Clement.

"Gilles and Jo had a little more time to prepare for the tie, so that's the reason. They are all very close and for me it's a logical choice."

British captain Leon Smith said: "That's the advantage they have, the strength in depth they've got. They've got such a strong team.

"I don't know how Richard is feeling. He obviously had a great Wimbledon. It may change in the morning, you never know."

GB rely on settled side

GB Davis Cup team
Britain's team: (From left to right) Jamie Murray, Dom Inglot, Leon Smith, James Ward and Andy Murray

There was no debate over who would take the singles spots for the home side, with Smith again calling upon world number three Murray and Davis Cup hero Ward.

The Londoner won a stunning five-set match against American John Isner in the previous round, and this week broke into the world's top 100 for the first time.

"Every one of these guys has given 100% when playing for Great Britain and it won't change this weekend," said Smith.

"There's no doubt there will be some aches and pains and a bit of tiredness from a long grass-court season. It's demanding for them, but you'll see no lack of desire, effort and passion to try and win the matches."

Smith could face his biggest test of the weekend when confirming Saturday's doubles team, with the option remaining to bring in Andy Murray to play all three days, despite his brother and Inglot impressing in Glasgow.

France v GB facts
The tie reacquaints two of the most successful teams in Davis Cup history for the 21st time, but the first since France gave Britain a 5-0 drubbing in Bayonne 23 years ago.
Britain and France first met in Folkestone in 1912, with the home side claiming their first of 11 wins, but the last came in 1978 - the last time Britain reached the Davis Cup final.
France were runners-up last year and are looking to win their first title since 2001.

The French view

Murray will play Tsonga for the 13th time, with the Scot leading 10-2.

"It's going to be difficult because he's one of the best players on grass, but I feel good, I'm in good shape," said Tsonga.

"The most important thing for me is to know it's possible to beat Andy."

Ward, ranked 89th, takes on Simon, the world number 11, for the first time.

"I practised a lot with James over the last two years because our coaches are really close, so I may be the one who knows him the best on our team," said Simon.

"I know what to expect and it's going to be hard. I feel I'm ready for the match."

Marks out of 10

James Ward and Andy Murray
James Ward and Andy Murray have been keeping spirits high in the British camp

Team bonding has been a big part of Britain's success in recent years and the whole squad are staying together at a London hotel for the duration of the tie.

The spirit in the camp must be strong, judging by how the players are passing the time away from the court.

"We played one game where basically everyone has to give themselves a rating out of 10 for their looks, and the total package," said Andy Murray.

"Then everyone else has to mark you, and you see how close to reality you are. Wardy was way off!

"So Dom would score points for intelligence, whereas Wardy…"