LONDON (Reuters) - Fast-forward to next July and picture the scene with great rivals Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Britain’s Andy Murray going toe-to-toe in a thrilling Davis Cup quarter-final.
It would be a magnificent occasion with the current world numbers one and two fueled by national pride and the decibel levels in the stands pumped up.
Whoever prevailed would probably then be lining up a mouth-watering clash with Roger Federer’s Switzerland.
That scenario is unlikely to happen, however, because the packed ATP Tour and the Davis Cup schedule are often incompatible for the leading players and next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will clutter their plans still further.
Newly-crowned champions Britain are on course for a clash with 2010 winners Serbia in next year’s competition, but the chances are that neither Murray nor Djokovic will be involved, as it falls just after Wimbledon and with the Olympics looming.
Murray, who almost single-handedly led Britain to their first title for 79 years on Sunday when he beat David Goffin in Belgium to complete one of the greatest individual Davis Cup years ever, has committed to playing in the first round in 2016, a March tie to home to Japan in Birmingham.
Which is more than Swiss duo Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka did this year -- deciding against trying to defend the trophy they won in 2014 for the first time by beating France.
A below-strength Swiss side lost to Belgium in the first round. Djokovic, who led Serbia to victory in 2010, did play against Croatia in this year’s first round but was absent for the quarter-final loss to Argentina.
Murray has already indicated that next year’s quarter-final date would be “very tricky” and few would blame him if he prioritized his individual targets having invested so much energy into the cause this year.
He said the International Tennis Federation, which runs the Davis Cup, and the ATP Tour, needs to co-operate more closely to ensure the big names play every year.
“We played four ties this year and every one of them was a sell-out, and the atmospheres were really good,” Murray told reporters the day after victory in Ghent.
”It’s just the timing of the competition, it would be great if the ITF and ATP could actually really work together to try to sort something out.
“The Davis Cup is a great way of promoting tennis and growing the game and reaching out to new fans but I do think that if they worked together a bit more they could make it an even better competition.”
Editing by Ed Osmond