“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:
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