“I was part of the tie when we lost away to Lithuania in Group Two, and that proved to be John Lloyd’s last match as captain.
Then, Leon came in and we played Turkey in Eastbourne. The pressure was on because if we had lost that, it would have been Group C, which is a totally different format, and not where we would want to be at all. The tie went really well, we won 5-0, then next up we played Tunisia in Bolton, and I remember Leon doing a presentation to the guys in the team hotel.
The main theme was that we were on a journey back to the World Group. At the time, it seemed quite ambitious and optimistic, but it has proven to be a reality. Andy coming back on board has been a key thing. It makes a huge difference having him there, but it is amazing the journey from those days. It would be unbelievable to end it by winning the Davis Cup.
Obviously, the team struggled for a while without Andy. There is no doubt about it, but it gave certain people a real chance to step up and play. Over the years, a few people have proven themselves in this arena. James Ward, obviously, while Dan Evans had some amazing Davis Cup results too.”
A look at Team GB’s journey from World II group to Davis Cup final:
Britain defeated the other three Grand Slam nations (USA, France and Australia) to reach their first final since 1978. Let’s have a look at Murray’s and co road to the final:
1st round: GREAT BRITAIN – USA 3-1, Glasgow, indoors
A rematch of last year’s first round, and an similar scenario. James Ward is the hero of the tie: he comes back from two sets down to beat US number 1 John Isner in five sets, whereas Andy Murray wins both his singles matches.
Andy Murray defeats Donald Young 6-1 6-1 4-6 6-2
James Ward defeats John Isner 6-7 5-7 6-3 7-6 15-13
Bob and Mike Bryan defeat Dominic Inglot/Jamie Murray 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-7 9-7
Andy Murray defeats John Isner 7-6 6-3 7-6
QF: GREAT BRITAIN – FRANCE: 3-1, Queen’s Club, grass
Brothers Andy and Jamie Murray propel into the semifinals for the first time since 1981. After Andy’s win over Tsonga on day 1, the Murray brothers win the crucial doubles rubber over Tsonga and Mahut. Andy then gets the job done on Sunday with a win over Simon.
Gilles Simon defeats James Ward 6-4 6-4 6-1
Andy Murray defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 7-6 6-2
Andy and Jamie Murray defeat Nicolas Mahut/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6 6-3 7-6 6-1
Andy Murray defeats Gilles Simon 4-6 7-6 6-3 6-0
SF: GREAT BRITAIN – Australia 3-1, Glasgow, indoors
Another 3-point performance by Andy Murray puts Great Britain into the Davis Cup final for the first time since 1978. The Brits will next face Belgium, in a rematch of the 1904 Davis Cup final. Britain won 5-0 back then and will be the favorite again in November.
Andy Murray defeats Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3 6-0 6-3
Bernard Tomic defeats Dan Evans 6-3 7-6 6-7 6-4
Andy and Jamie Murray defeat Sam Groth/Lleyton Hewitt 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-7 6-4
Andy Murray defeats Bernard Tomic 7-5 6-3 6-2
Andy Murray: “A fantastic challenge I’m looking forward to in 2014 is representing Great Britain in the World Group of Davis Cup. We played a great match in Umag, Croatia, in September to gain promotion. There is a great sense of togetherness in the British camp. A lot of good people work for the game in this country at so many different levels and the Davis Cup is an opportunity for us all to show what it means to represent Britain. The sense is different from when you are out there on your own. I know I have the support from my box – that’s a given – but this is right there, in your face, the whole time.”
1st round: GREAT BRITAIN – USA 3-1, San Diego, clay
After Andy Murray‘s routine win over Donald Young, British number 2 James Ward caused a big surprise by defeating former top 20 Sam Querrey in five sets. Bob and Mike Bryan kept the US hope alive, but Murray finished the job to put Great Britain into the quarterfinals for the first time since 1986. It is also the first time Britain have beaten the USA since 1935!
Andy Murray defeats Donald Young 6-1 6-2 6-3
James Ward defeats Sam Querrey 1-6 7-6 3-6 6-4 6-1
Bob and Mike Bryan defeat Colin Fleming/Dominic Inglot 6-2 6-3 3-6 6-1
Andy Murray defeats Sam Querrey 7-6 6-7 6-1 6-3
GROUP I EUROPE/AFRICA 2ND ROUND: GREAT BRITAIN – RUSSIA 3-2, Coventry, hard
It was surprisingly the first time Great Britain and Russia met in Davis Cup and it surely was a tie to remember! Brits overturned a 0-2 deficit for the first time since 1930 to clich an historic 3-2 victory over Russia.
“On the practice court on Sunday morning, there was no doubt in our minds we could do this. I’m so proud of the whole team. James’s was a hell of an effort to come back, then Dan came in and he bossed that match. I think it’s one of the best days I’ve seen in British tennis.”
“Earlier this year against Russia in Coventry, Dan Evans and James Ward recovered from a couple of body-blow defeats on the first day and responded with victories over Dmity Tursunov and Evgeny Donskoy, players who are ranked much higher than them. A lot of this is down to Leon’s sound captaincy. He has this ability to say the right thing at the right time, to quietly analyse a match and he doesn’t complicate things.”
Dmitry Tursunov defeats Dan Evans 6-4 6-7 6-4 5-7 6-4
Evgeny Donskoy defeats James Ward 4-6 4-6 7-5 6-3 8-6
Colin Fleming/Jonathan Marray defeat Victor Baluda/Igor Kunitsyn 6-1 6-4 6-2
James Ward defeats Dmitry Tursunov 6-4 5-7 5-7 6-4 6-4
Dan Evans defeats Evgeny Donskoy 6-4 6-4 6-1
Dan Evans had zero wins from his last 10 matches, but he was the hero of Britain’s tie against Slovakia: he beat Lukas Lacko ranked 211 places above him in straight sets, and Martin Klizan, ranked 156 places higher, in the deciding rubber.
Britain faced Belgium in the second round. Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins kept the British hopes of a comeback alive after Olivier Rochus and Steve Darcis wins. But David Goffin, making his Davis Cup singles debut defeated Josh Goodall in straight sets to propel Belgium to the World Group play-offs.
GROUP I EUROPE/AFRICA 1ST ROUND: GREAT BRITAIN – SLOVAKIA 3-2, Glasgow, hard
Dan Evans defeats Lukas Lacko 6-3 7-5 7-5
Martin Klizan defeats James Ward 6-2 4-6 6-4 7-6
Colin Fleming/Ross Hutchins defeat Michal Mertinak/Filip Polasek 6-3 7-6 0-6 6-3
Lukas Lacko defeats James Ward 7-6 6-1 6-3
Dan Evans defeats Martin Klizan 6-1 6-1 4-6 3-6 6-3
GROUP I EUROPE/AFRICA 2ND ROUND: GREAT BRITAIN – BELGIUM 1-3, Glasgow, hard
Steve Darcis defeats Josh Goodall 6-7 6-3 6-4 6-4
Olivier Rochus defeats Dan Evans 3-6 6-5 7-6 6-4
Colin Fleming/Ross Hutchins defeat Ruben Bemelmans/David Goffin 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4
David Goffin defeats Josh Goodall 6-4 6-4 6-4
Photo credit: Lizzim