Bri­tain count­ing on Mur­rays to bring home Davis Cup

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Bri­tain will at­tempt to win the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years this week­end when they take on Bel­gium in Ghent, al­though if they do suc­ceed the Scot­tish town of Dun­blane could ar­gue its name should be en­scribed on the tro­phy.

World num­ber two Andy Mur­ray and his brother Jamie, who grew up in Dun­blane, have pro­pelled Bri­tain through the draw, with Andy churn­ing out vi­tal sin­gles wins and team­ing up with his el­der sib­ling in the dou­bles.

That is likely to be the sce­nario again at the Flan­ders Expo, be­gin­ning on Fri­day, where de­spite 13,000 home fans try­ing to cheer Bel­gium to their first ever Davis Cup, Bri­tain will start favourites.

Twice grand slam cham­pion Andy Mur­ray is the class act of the fi­nal-a re­peat of the 1904 match when the Bri­tish Isles won 5-0 with broth­ers Lau­rence and Reg­gie Do­herty star­ring. Mur­ray’s com­mit­ment to the cause this year has been im­mense. The 2013 Wim­ble­don cham­pion is un­de­feated, win­ning two sin­gles against the United States in Glas­gow in March.

Against France in the quar­ter-fi­nals at Queen’s Club, the Mur­rays joined forces to win the dou­bles with Andy win­ning both his sin­gles in a 3-1 vic­tory-the sec­ond against Gilles Si­mon when he was down on both knees with fatigue. Then came the semi-fi­nal against Aus­tralia, again in Glas­gow, when the 28-year-old crushed Bernard Tomic, hav­ing won a grip­ping dou­bles five-set­ter with Jamie the pre­vi­ous day, to send Bri­tain into the fi­nal for the first time since 1978. He flew into Bel­gium on Mon­day-a coun­try on high alert af­ter the Paris at­tacks-hav­ing lost two of his three matches at the ATP World Tour Fi­nals last week.

Ris­ing to the chal­lenge

How he adapts to the quick switch to in­door clay will be cru­cial for Bri­tain cap­tain Leon Smith. “The re­al­ity is that if Andy gets in­jured or ill, then it would be a very dif­fi­cult match to win,” Mark Cox, who played for Bri­tain in the 1978 fi­nal, told Reuters. “Leon has done well to bond the team and get some per­for­mances from James Ward, well be­yond what re­al­is­ti­cally would be ex­pected. “But the whole run to the fi­nal has re­lied on Andy’s per­for­mances and it has been great to see Jamie ris­ing to the chal­lenge and be­com­ing a force in dou­bles.” Roger Federer, who won the tro­phy for the first time last year for Switzer­land, be­lieves Mur­ray will de­cide the tie. “Bri­tain are the favourites, in my opin­ion, be­cause they have Andy in the team,” he said.

Federer, how­ever, be­lieves Bel­gium should not be dis­missed, es­pe­cially with world num­ber 16 David Gof­fin in their ranks. “Bel­gium are at home. I really like Gof­fin, a great player. Good at­ti­tude. I feel like he’s the kind of guy that can han­dle pres­sure,” he said.

Gof­fin will likely be up against Bri­tain’s 100th-ranked debu­tant Kyle Ed­mund in the open­ing match-a must win rub­ber for the hosts.

Mur­ray is likely to play Bel­gium num­ber two Steve Dar­cis, who won the fifth rub­ber in the semi-fi­nal against Ar­gentina, al­though cap­tain Jo­han Van Herck could save him for what could be a po­ten­tial ti­tle-de­cider in Sun­day’s re­verse sin­gles. —Reuters

GENT: (From left) Bri­tain’s Do­minic In­glot, Kyle Ed­mund, Bri­tain’s cap­tain Leon Smith, Andy Mur­ray, James Ward and Jamie Mur­ray pose dur­ing a press con­fer­ence ahead of the Davis Cup World Group fi­nal be­tween Bel­gium and Bri­tain, yes­ter­day, at Flan­ders Expo in Gent. The fi­nal will be played from 27 to 29 Novem­ber 2015 in Gent Flan­ders Expo. — AFP

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