March 8, 2015
A passionate Andy Murray guided GB into the Davis Cup quarter-finals with a tricky straight sets victory over John Isner in Glasgow.
Now GB face France at home in July. And if it were possible, Murray would love to play the tie on grass in his native Scotland.
Murray said: ‘It feels great, this is a team effort, everyone played their part. It is a pleasure to be part of this team, all of the staff have been incredible. To be in the quarter-finals for the second time in a row when that had happened before in forty years is incredible. Everyone is pulling in the same direction. In front of the cameras I’m a bit shy but when they’re turned off I’m a different person – noisier.’
Murray pumped his fists repeatedly after taking a tense first-set tie-break, which put him on the road to victory as widely expected. It was the same expression of ecstasy at the end of the match as the Scottish crowd went wild.
The 2013 Wimbledon champion came through 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) to give GB an unassailable 3-1 lead over the USA and render the final match between James Ward and Donald Young meaningless.
It was the first time GB had won a home ,world group Davis Cup tie since 1986 and success was sealed after a magnificent three days of hard-fought matches.
Now the British face last year’s finalists France in that home quarter-final, a tough draw but a challenge Murray and the rest of the team will relish after their recent heroics in his native Scotland. That home clash in July, a week after Wimbledon, is already the subject of fierce debate.
Murray said: ‘Can we lay some grass courts up here in Scotland? Because I’m sure we would love to play up here again against France!’
Murray didn’t have it all his own way on Sunday, though. Isner put up admirable resistance in that nervy first set and could have put a serious dent in the higher-ranked player’s composure had he taken advantage of a set point.
Earlier the American had break points to give himself a two-game cushion, which would also have placed massive pressure on the favourite.
Similarly Isner was only two points away from winning the third set 6-4; but Murray blasted his way out of trouble with a succession of powerful serves.
For the most part, Isner couldn’t match Murray’s ground strokes when it really mattered, despite that famously fast serve the taller man always has in his arsenal. Even so, Isner can be proud of how many times he worried Murray in a match very few expected the American to win.
When it came to the crunch, Murray was the master in the tie-breaks. He took the final breaker 7-4 to send Glasgow into wild celebrations. For the USA, this is a tough time in terms of world standings. But they can be proud of their players and the way they performed to make this such a rousing occasion. Now the USA will need a play-off match to stay in the world group.
As for Great Britain, the search is on for a venue big enough to stage the France clash – perhaps even a football stadium.