2010: new beginnings for the British Davis Cup team
Great Britain’s journey to the Davis Cup final started 5 years ago after a devastating loss to Lithuania.
GROUP II EUROPE/AFRICA 1ST ROUND: LITHUANIA-GREAT BRITAIN, Vilnius, hard
A new low for British tennis, as the Davis Cup team suffered an embarrassing loss to Lithuania who had just three world-ranked players. Despite holding a 2-1 lead going into the Sunday’s action, James Ward and Dan Evans both lost their reverse singles. Grigelis, ranked 269 places below Evans and who had never played on the ATP tour, won the deciding rubber.
Andy Murray had withdrawn from the tie, so young players could gain international experience:
“It think it’s been 10 years or something since a British player outside myself, Tim (Henman) and Greg (Rusedski) won a live Davis Cup rubber. It’s time for the guys to get used to winning in the Davis Cup, rather than having so much pressure on them every time they play.”
John Lloyd, who lost 8 of the last 11 ties as a captain, resigned shortly after the tie:
“I am very proud of my time as Davis Cup captain and grateful to all the players for their support. I’ve been a Davis Cup player, captain and now it is time to become a fan.”
James Ward defeats Laurynas Grigelis 6-4 6-2 6-4
Ricardas Berankis defeats Dan Evans 6-1 4-6 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3
Colin Fleming/Ken Skupski defeat Laurynas Grigelis/Dovydas Sakinis 6-0 6-7 7-5 6-3
Ricardas Berankis defeats James Ward 7-6 6-3 6-4
Laurynas Grigelis defeats Dan Evans 6-7 7-5 6-0 2-6 6-4
GROUP II EUROPE/AFRICA RELEGATION PLAY-OFF: GREAT BRITAIN – TURKEY 3-0, Eastbourne, grass
Following the Vilnius debacle, Leon Smith was handed the captaincy and Great Britain faced Turkey in play-off, to avoid relegation to Group III – the lowest tier of the competition.
Jamie Baker and James Ward gave their team a perfect 2-0 start, and Fleming and Skupsi won their doubles rubber to seal the win for Great Britain, the first Davis Cup win since Tim Henman’s final match in 2007.
“This job is done but we have to move British tennis forward. This is just a start.”
Photo credit: Linda