Davis Cup: Great Britain ready to fight favourites France - Leon Smith

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Jamie Murray says Great Britain will fight for every point against France
Davis Cup - France v Great Britain
Dates: 7-9 April Venue: Rouen Time: 13:00 BST on Friday
Coverage: Live on BBC One or BBC Two across all three days of competition, with extra coverage on BBC Red Button and online, connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app (full coverage details)

Captain Leon Smith says Great Britain are ready to fight favourites France in their Davis Cup quarter-final, despite playing on clay.

Britain beat France at the same stage on the way to the 2015 title, but are without injured world number one Andy Murray for the tie, starting on Friday.

"The French players are obviously more attuned to clay having been brought up on it," Smith told BBC Sport.

"But we are a tough team and we will compete really hard."

Kyle Edmund will face Lucas Pouille in the first match in Rouen on Friday, before Dan Evans takes on Jeremy Chardy - who replaced Gilles Simon on Wednesday - in the second singles match.

Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot are due to play Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau in Saturday's doubles, before the reverse singles on Sunday.

France are also without the injured Gael Monfils, world number 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is short of match fitness, and Richard Gasquet, who is recovering from appendix surgery.

"Because of the withdrawals it has led to it being a little bit closer than people would have thought," Smith added.

What are Evans' chances on clay?

Dan Evans
Dan Evans last win on clay came in Great Britain's Davis Cup play-off win over Croatia in 2013

Great Britain's victory over France in 2015 occurred in a rather more familiar - and favourable - setting than the upcoming tie in Rouen.

Britain, led by an unstoppable Murray, eclipsed France 3-1 on grass at Queen's club in London.

However, Evans' dislike for clay is no secret - he has not played a match on the surface for two years.

The 26-year-old told BBC Sport: "I didn't need to play on it over the past two years, so I stuck to my favoured surface. It's not a matter of avoiding it.

"I still have to be aggressive. I have to get forward and make the other guy move."

GB captain Smith and Evans have sought the advice of former British number one Tim Henman - who had a similar style to Evans and came through his own struggles on clay to reach the French Open semi-finals in 2004.

Smith said: "It is a big challenge. I think he can play on it but he hasn't had much time on it or matches over the past few years.

"He has got a lot of skills and moves great. He has a good tennis brain and he has to figure out a way to put his offensive game on a clay court.

"That might take some time but he is more than capable of playing some good matches on it if he listens well."

Expectations for Edmund

Kyle Edmund
Great Britain reached the quarter-finals after Canada's Denis Shapovalov defaulted for hitting the umpire with a ball against Kyle Edmund

Edmund, meanwhile, has had some of his best results on clay and has won two of his three Davis Cup rubbers played on the surface.

In the Davis Cup quarter-finals last year, the 22-year-old beat both Janko Tipsarevic and Dusan Lajovic in straight sets to earn victory against Serbia in Belgrade.

Smith added: "Kyle is very dangerous on a clay court. In Serbia last year he did a great job for the team on it and it's a surface he thrives on.

"It's still an uphill challenge over the next few days, that's obvious, but it's one that the players are ready to go out and fight for."

Edmund, ranked 47 in the world, lost to David Goffin on his Davis Cup debut in the 2015 final against Belgium, despite winning the first two sets.

He said: "Serbia helped me going forward with belief. It's great to get two wins over the weekend and it played a big part in the result.

"This time is no different. I have to go out there and play my game. I have more experience now so the more comfortable I am in the environment."

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