It has been a marvellous weekend for the British Davis Cup team. History has been rewritten – it was GB’s first win over their American counterparts for 79 years and GB can look forward to a first World Group quarter-final in 28 years. Andy Murray just loves dusting down the history books, doesn’t he? It’s a glorious habit to have!
Admittedly the USA were suffering from John Isner’s omission due to injury but don’t let that take anything away from Leon Smith’s men’s achievement. Jim Courier, the suave American captain, opted to put the tie on clay to make things difficult for the visitors but it didn’t.
When Andy Murray is in the side, the nation looks significantly better. The Wimbledon champion moved well on the surface, defended superbly and got his shot selection spot on in a polished weekend’s work.
Not only did Murray prove to be pivotal in the tie’s outcome, but so did second British singles player James Ward, who was perhaps the catalyst for the victory. Over 100 ranking positions separated Ward and Sam Querry yet the Brit played out of his skin to record a five-set win against a strong-serving opponent. Britain can be proud.
More credit must go to captain Leon Smith, who picked up the Davis Cup outfit on the verge of being relegated to Group 3. Now, not even 4 years on, his side will contest in the last 8 of the World Group. Smith has only ever lost one tie with Britain. Full credit to him for negotiating Britain forward, even in times when Andy Murray wasn’t playing in the Davis Cup.
Next up is Italy in April, the tie is away and thus presumably on clay. It appears to be a tall order but I, already, quite fancy Britian to excel with Murray’s commitment. There are plenty of experienced of doubles players to call on and, yes, it would require a big ask from the second singles player but why not? James Ward is clearly prone to making an upset, as demonstrated this weekend, and, looking back to last year, in the tie Vs Russia. In addition, the win in San Deigo does mean guaranteed World Group tennis for next year.
After that, and now I am getting ahead of myself, could potentially be Switzerland in the semi-finals. Wow, what a juicy tie that would be!
Finally, congratulations to the team and all that have played in the years of rebuilding to get GB back, where they belong, among the tennis elite.