Andy Murray vs Taro Daniel
Murray and Daniel kick-off the round one tie in Birmingham.Getty Images

Andy Murray takes on Taro Daniel in the first singles rubber on day one of Great Britain's 2016 Davis Cup World Group first-round meeting with Japan at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Friday 4 March.

The hosts are the defending champions, having beaten Belgium 3-1 in November to claim their first title since Fred Perry and Bunny Austin led them to a pre-Second World War victory over Australia way back in 1936.

Where to watch

Both Andy Murray vs Taro Daniel and Dan Evans' clash with Kei Nishikori will be broadcast live on BBC Two, with the action scheduled to get under way at 1pm GMT. Coverage is also available on BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra.

Preview

Andy Murray will kick-start Great Britain's defence of their Davis Cup crown when he faces Taro Daniel in the opening singles rubber of the first round tie against Japan in Birmingham. The British number one won all eight singles rubbers in 2015, including against David Goffin in the final to clinch victory in Ghent, and is expected to lead GB's attempts to retain their crown.

The 23-year-old Daniel has won only one match in the main draw of a tournament this year and faces the daunting prospect of taking on the world number two Murray, who will be fresh after taking a break from the sport to become a father for the first time. The Scot has not played since losing the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic in straight sets in January but is recharged ahead of a tilt at more Davis Cup glory.

Ranked a career-best 87 in the world, Daniel is relatively new to the professional circuit and though he has a handful of grand slam appearances to his name, the challenge of facing Murray on his home turf will be an altogether new experience. He claimed his maiden Davis Cup win in 2015 in the World Group play-off against Colombia, beating Alejandro Falla as Japan came from behind to secure their place in tennis' top tier for another year.

Though world number six Kei Nishikori will lead the Japanese team, there is an onus on Daniel to make life as difficult as possible for Murray, who could potentially be ring-rusty having not hit a ball in anger for nearly five weeks. The match represents the first test of how Murray is coping with the dynamic of being a dad but he can afford no slip ups if GB have any ambition of adding to their 10 titles.

Betting odds (Betfair)

  • Great Britain: 2/9
  • Japan: 11/4

Head to head

N/A