TO a child of the 1980s, there was always something impossibly cool and charismatic about the way Miloslav Mecir conducted himself on a tennis court.

While contemporaries such as Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl attempted to bludgeon their opponents into submission, Mecir was an altogether different animal. Clad in his classic Reebok gear, and adorned with trademark beard, the stylish Slovak was content to exist on his wits on the baseline, breaking cover only every now and then to languidly dispatch outrageous winners from the most unlikely angles of the court.

It is a style which earned him the nickname the Big Cat and has drawn frequent comparisons with that of Andy Murray, so perhaps it is fitting the Slovakia Davis Cup captain should speak admiringly of the game of the world No.4 from Dunblane, sadly posted missing from this tie as he recovers from his exertions at the Australian Open.

It is, however, to be hoped that the comparison only goes so far. Mecir may have been the first player to win Olympic gold, at the 1988 games in Seoul, but he never did win that elusive first grand slam singles title, being beaten in both his major finals by his former Czechoslovakia Davis Cup team-mate Lendl.

The recruitment as Murray's coach of the former world No.1, with whom Mecir had a complex relationship, brings things full circle.

"I do like his [Murray's] game," Mecir said. "He moves around the court very well, plays good tactics and is able to get many different balls from many different positions. The match during the Australian Open against [Novak] Djokovic, it was just tough luck that he didn't win. But it was an excellent game and world-class tennis. You can't see any better than that.

"Ivan has a lot of experience and can help him [Murray] a lot," the Slovak added. "It will depend on how he can manage to use his advances. We will see. I don't know how Ivan works as a coach but I am sure he has a lot of experience to pass on to Andy. Ivan was a little bit older than me and moved to the States so we haven't seen each other so much, and we never did so much away from the tennis. We had some practices together but I liked fishing and he has golf. But when we meet now we have some words and it is fine."

Mecir is 47 these days, and has been Davis Cup captain since 1994, a year after the Slovak Republic's partition from the Czech Republic. It is quite an innings, as emphasised by the fact that his son, Miloslav Jr, is now one of the players he has at his disposal.

"This is probably the third or fourth generation of players I am on to," Mecir said. "I started out with Marian Vajda [now Novak Djokovic's coach], then Dominic Hrbaty and Karol Kucera came along, and now Lukas Lacko and Martin Klizan. These guys are about the same age as my son so I feel a little bit older now."

"But I like to hang around young guys, you know," he added. "I like the tennis game, and as long as I can give them some advice I like to do that. The Slovak Association have always asked me to do it. So far I am always happy to do it and if the players like it then I am happy too."

Tennis in Slovakia wrestles with football and ice hockey for airtime but if any man is poised to take on the mantle of Mecir's heir apparent among this current squad it is Lacko who, with a singles ranking of 65, is the class performer on show at Braehead this weekend. At the age of 24, Lacko feels he is hitting peak form and puts it down to a couple of changes to his game and lifestyle. The improvement is there for all to see: not only did he navigate his way past Ivan Ljubicic and Donald Young before going down to Rafael Nadal in Melbourne, he arrives in Scotland fresh from the first ATP Tour final of his career, in Zagreb last week.

"I made a couple of changes towards the end of last year and started to take everything a bit more professionally," Lacko said. "I have been doing better-quality practices, and working harder on my fitness. It is all about the tennis for me now. When you are doing things at your best, the results will come sooner or later, so I am happy that it has worked out so well at the start of the year."

Slovakia have a more than handy doubles pairing in Filip Polasek and Michal Mertinak, and there is a strength and depth in their singles ranks which the Brits can only dream of. The No.2 for the tie is 22-year-old Martin Klizan – the current world No.120, who reached No.86 in September last year – while Karol Beck, a former top 100 player who failed a dope test in this competition in 2006, was left out.

Nonetheless, Mecir feels things aren't what they used to be. "We used to have more players – it is getting more expensive for the kids to play," he said. "But I am happy that Lukas has improved and has played very well in the last couple of months. He is back in the top 100 and I cross the fingers that he can get even higher. But then I do that for all the players."