Davis Cup captain Leon Smith insists Great Britain can spring an upset and eliminate France next week despite confirming that world No1 Andy Murray will miss the quarter-final in Rouen.
Smith conceded that the absence of Murray, who is taking an indefinite break to recover from an elbow injury, was a severe blow against a French team he rates as the strongest in the competition.
The Scot, however, believes that singles specialists Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund and the doubles pairing of Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot can deliver Britain to the last four.
“Not having Andy in the side is obviously a big loss to our team but most importantly we all wish him well for a speedy recovery,” said Smith.
“In Dan and Kyle we have two top-50 singles players who are improving all the time on the tour and both with games capable of upsetting higher-ranked opponents.
“Jamie and Dom once again combine as our doubles team and will draw much confidence after performing so well recently to win key rubbers against Serbia and Canada to defeat Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil.”
“This is a team with significant Davis Cup experience now and these guys have all stepped up and delivered performances at the very top of the competition.”
France are set to be without leading trio Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet but such is their depth of talent that they can still call on Lucas Pouille and Gilles Simon.
They also boast a dedicated doubles pairing of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, as well as a clay court likely to favour them far more than 2015 champions Great Britain.
Smith added: “Facing France in a Davis Cup tie is a tough test for any group of players and this Rouen quarter-final will be no exception. They have the strongest depth of squad by far, out of any nation in the competition.”