Andy Murray broke another long drought for British tennis as he led team GB to the 2015 Davis Cup title over team Belgium in Ghent, Belgium on indoor clay. It’s the first DC title for the Brits since 1936, as Murray adds a Davis Cup trophy to his two career Grand Slam titles, capping off a top three ATP season this year (and four ATP titles, including two Masters).
Murray finished the year 8-0 in Davis Cup singles play as he didn’t drop a set against either Ruben Bemelmans on Friday, or David Goffin on Sunday, in the tie clinching fourth rubber. The skill and level of Goffin and Bemelmans just not up to par with Murray, as the balanced Belgian team lacked the star power to win the tie, and home support couldn’t put them over the top.
The key rubber came on Saturday. Tied at 1-1 after Kyle Edmund squandered a 2-0 lead to crumble in a five set defeat at the hands of Goffin. Andy and Jamie Murray won the final two sets over Goffin and Steve Darcis to capture a four set doubles rubber victory, and setup Murray to seal the deal as he did on Sunday.
The young Edmund was making his DC debut and deserves credit for pushing Goffin hard, his body blows further weakening the Belgian team. Surely he’ll improve in later ties and the World Group next year, as he has bright future.
Leon Smith’s decision making was also top notch as he decided to pair the Murray brothers in doubles this time. He coached team GB to victory over traditional tennis powerhouses USA, France, and Australia en route to the final.
Belgium showed team unity can result in Davis Cup wins for underdogs, and with a relatively young team, they should continue to improve as well, and will get another potential shot at the title next year, likely fired up after coming so close to tasting victory.
The top tier of men’s professional tennis has now concluded for 2015, and one month from now the ATP World Tour will return for the start of the Australian Open series and the road to the 2016 Australian Open. Enjoy the short break, and we look forward to offering high quality pro tennis coverage again next year.
The final day of the Davis Cup semi-final between Great Britain and Australia, with the British team leading 2-1 after the Murray brothers pulled through in doubles on Saturday. Andy Murray had a chance to seal the tie in the fourth rubber against Australian number one Bernard Tomic in the first match of the day, and the world #3 did just that.
Murray d. Tomic 7-5 6-3 6-2
The sentiments before the match was that Great Britain had sealed the tie in the doubles. After all, Murray had previously beaten Tomic two times in routine fashion. Those thoughts looked to be coming true when Murray secured an early break of serve. The pair were hold all the way until 5-3, where the Brit earned the opportunity to serve out the set. Tomic applied the pressure and earned break point, which was saved by a big serve and forehand combination. Murray then had a set point of his own which was saved by an excellent running backhand pass. Murray would then surrender the break to get us back even. However, the world number three ramped up the pressure again at 6-5, getting to 0-40 on the Aussie’s serve. Tomic would save the first two set points, but on the fourth time of asking Murray was able to hit a drop shot that the world number 23 was unable to retrieve.
The second set went pretty much the same way, with Murray breaking in the fourth game yet again. This time, when asked the question to serve it out, he did not make any mistake. A love hold gave the Brit an unassailable lead.
It would take a minor miracle for the Aussie to get back into this match, and his effort showed. A poor game at 1-1 gifted another break to Murray and this match was all but over. A second break would put the match beyond any doubt, and Murray would serve it out to send Great Britain through to the final 3-1 in the tie.
“He’s a tough guy to play against,” Murray said of Tomic.
“He’s got incredible timing. He’s not the best mover but her reads the game very well, serves well. I think we have similar games in some respects. Sometimes when you play a similar game to someone, you don’t enjoy it because he changes the pace of the ball. But yeah, for me my game has just worked well against his.”
“He’s a very good player, an amazing player,” Tomic said of his opponent post-match.
“Today in the big moments when I had a bit of a chance, he was playing very well. I had a chance in that first set to take it to a tiebreak, but he played a very good game at 6-5 to get the break. He was making amazing shots and it shows why he is one of the best players in the world now, and one of the best defenders out there.”
Despite the tough loss to GB, Tomic remains positive about the future of Australian tennis and their Davis Cup prospects over the next decade or so. “We have a very good future,” the Australian number one said. “Nick, who missed out here, is going to help us in the future for sure. Our future looks very good, we have to remain positive and work hard. “There’s still a few months left of the season so I am going to push as hard as I can, and maybe reach the top 15 is my goal. I will be top 20 from tomorrow, so I am happy to make it to the top 20 and maybe in the next five tournaments I can push for top 15.”
It will certainly be an interesting future for Australia. Does Hewitt take on the role as captain?
“My understanding there is going to a panel,” said Wally Masur. “Lleyton I would suggest is going to be the next Davis Cup captain, but there is going to be a panel because everyone has got to have an opportunity. We have got some pretty good past players so everyone’s got to have an opportunity.” Meanwhile, Hewitt himself is unsure on whether he will take the reins of captain next year. “I haven’t really thought about it,” Hewitt said.
“I tried to do as much as I can playing wise whilst I can still run around and compete with these guys. With Pat and Wally this year we have still felt like I had to play a key role with the team dynamics, and added experience with the boys. “We will just have to sit down and work all that out.”
With Tomic, Kyrgios, and Kokkinakis they certainly have the talent to perhaps go all the way in later years.
Speaking of Kokkinakis, the 19 year old restored a little pride for his country by defeating Dan Evans 7-5, 6-4 in the dead rubber. The Aussie was in control throughout the match, even after failing to serve out the first set.
Great Britain advance to the final by a final score of 3-2 to face Belgium, after they defeated Argentina 3-2 in a live 5th rubber. That final will be played in Belgium in a couple of months.
Tennis Atlantic is live in Glasgow, Scotland for the Davis Cup semi-final between Great Britain and Australia over the weekend of the 18th-20th of September. The Brits are searching for their first Davis Cup success for nearly 80 years when they take on the Aussies at the Emirates Arena this weekend. Confidence is high around the UK that this could be the year Team GB breaks into the final, and with recent victories over France and USA there is little reason to doubt them.
Leon Smith’s team is spearheaded by world number three Andy Murray, whose heroics at Queens in July earned GB a 3-1 victory over France. The Scot played all three days despite physical struggles, and earned key victories over Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon in the single rubbers.
Lleyton Hewitt claimed that all the pressure will be on Andy this weekend as the clear number one British player, but Murray insists that it is not all on him and it will come down to the entire team. “I would say [The Pressure] is all on me.” The 28 year old said. “We got into this position by everyone on the team playing their part, and there is pressure on everybody.
Murray will be joined by his brother Jamie Murray, Dominic Inglot, and Dan Evans, as they try replicate the success that dates back to the days of Fred Perry. Both Kyle Edmund, who had an ankle injury concern earlier in the week, and James Ward are alternates for Team GB but were not included in the formal nominations. “I went for a scan last night” The British number three Edmund said. “And when it came back it showed nothing, just a little bit of a bump, that’s it.” Despite the results, Smith went for a player nobody expected to be drafted in. Dan Evans was chosen over Ward and Edmund as the second singles player.
“It wasn’t an easy one but having thought about it a lot, the fact that Dan has played an awful lot of tennis this summer, won a lot of matches, I said the other day it’s obvious at Futures level that winning really helps, and he comes with a lot of confidence.” The GB captain said. “Obviously Kyle, although he’s almost fit, he still had a fall the other day and I think at this stage it was wasn’t worth risking anything happening over the weekend especially when you go in with the make-up of two singles players and two doubles players, if anything had happened with Kyle Friday we would have been up against it. “For James, the tie came maybe the wrong time for him after a summer that’s been quite tough results wise, but he’s played a big, big part in the team to date and I’m sure he’ll play a big part in the future as well, but I felt that Dan was in the best place to win for the weekend.”
Australia are bidding for their first title in 12 years, and one man remains from that victories team back in 2003. Hewitt is making his final appearance in the Davis Cup this year, and boy he would love to go out on a bang. The former two time grand slam champion is joined by Bernard Tomic, Sam Groth and Thanasi Kokkanakis as they look to combine youth and experience to take down the Brits. “Yeah it obviously means a lot [to play his last Davis Cup]” Hewitt said. “It is my last year playing, and it is a great opportunity. “With my experience and the other boys’ youth, I think we have really mixed it up well this year” “I think as a team we have gotten stronger as the year has gone on, which is a really good sign. We are here to put our best foot forward and we won’t be leaving anything in the locker room that’s for sure.”
The noticeable omission is their number two player, Nick Kyrgios. The 20 year old ‘bad boy’ of tennis recently was surrounded in controversy after comments made about Stan Wawrinka’s girlfriend. The Aussie is serving a one month suspension from the ATP, but he still eligible to play Davis Cup, so he was just left out of the squad. “After Nick played Andy at the US Open we sat down two days later. Nick has had a really full year in more ways than one, so we just kind of felt mutually that this was the best fit for him and the team.” Said Aussie captain, Wally Masur.
The draw to see who will play who was made on Thursday, and here is how it came out.
The British number one, Murray, will face Aussie youngster, Kokkanakis in the first rubber tomorrow afternoon. The pair know each other well due to practicing a lot together and playing doubles in Miami. However this is their first competitive meeting. “Yeah it will be a tough match obviously.” Murray said of the Kokkanakis challenge “I practiced with him a lot and have spent a lot of time watching him as well, and speaking to him. So I know for one of the younger guys, I know his game better than most. “You know we have practiced together at the French Open and the US Open, we obviously played doubles together as well in Miami, so I know his game well and obviously it will be a tough match. But at the same time it’s a tough match-up for him as well, you know the atmosphere is going to be challenging for them as well, and that’s something that will hopefully give us a big boost.
The Aussie meanwhile is relishing the opportunity to play one of the world’s best players on this big of a stage. “Yeah should be a great challenge up ahead, great player and to play him in his home ground in Glasgow will be a huge opportunity for me. I like the courts here, boys have been training really well, and it’s going to be a huge honour to play. Thank you guys for picking me again, and to play first up, I’ll be ready to go.” Kokkanakis said.
The only time these two met was two years ago at the US Open when Evans shocked Tomic with a four sets win. The Australian number one will now look to avenge that loss in the second rubber tomorrow evening. “Honestly? I was up 6-1 3-0 and couldn’t make a ball after that, and that’s all I remember.” Tomic said in recollection of that match in New York. “It was a very windy day, it was tough, he was very confident at the moment and he beat Nishikori prior to me. So he was playing well, I had a chance, I was comfortable I was cruising, obviously he started playing more free, and he beat me so it’s not an easy match, it’s very tough for me.”
“My game matches up pretty well to him, and that’s what I’ve got to try and do on Friday, play that way again.” Evans said. “Everyone, they do remember when you’ve played someone before, like I remember when I’ve lost to someone before – that’s always in someone’s head as well.” “I think coming back to Scotland is nice, I mean the atmosphere last time when I watched it on television sounded very good but it was obviously better in the stadium so yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”
You can catch all the Davis Cup action on Tennis Atlantic.
Andy Murray Clinches Victory for Team GB in Glasgow in @Daviscup Action vs. USA Joe Craven for Tennis Atlantic
British number one Andy Murray ensured the pressure was kept off his teammate James Ward, by sending team GB into the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup World Group with a 7-6 (4) 6-3 7-6 (4) victory over top American John Isner. Isner lost his second straight Davis Cup singles rubber, this time in straight sets fashion, though he came close to taking a set, and Murray was as calm, efficient and confident as he was on Friday when he dismantled Donald Young.
Despite the crowd doing their best to pump Murray up from the get go, it was Isner that was the better player for large periods of the 1st set. The American who was perhaps a bit too passive on Friday against James Ward, was able to play much more aggressive Tennis against Murray in the early stages of the match and kept things rather close. After serving his way out of trouble to hold for 2-1 in the opener, Isner gained an early break point opportunity in the very next game after ending a fantastic rally with a forehand winner down the line. This particular breakpoint was saved in style by Murray as he got on top of a competitive rally to end it with a forehand putaway. Murray was eventually able to hold his serve for 2-2 but the set continued to follow a similar pattern as Isner held with relative ease and pile the pressure on the Brits serve at every possible opportunity. Serving at 4-3 down in the set Murray had to save multiple breakpoints to hold, it was these moments he relished the most as he produced some his best tennis when he was up against the wall.
Murray was still struggling to hold comfortably and when serving to stay in the set at 5-4 down, some poor play from the Brit gave Isner multiple set points. However Isner was unable to take his chances and Murray eventually held for 5-5, much to the relief of the packed Emirates arena crowd. Fortunately for Murray he had no major issues serving to stay in the set at 6-5 down, holding to 30 to force a 1st set tiebreak. Isner double faulted in the very first point of the tiebreak to gift Murray the mini break and that was that. Some confident play from the Brit ensured that he stayed in control throughout the tiebreak it taking it 7-4.
The fashion in which Murray took the 1st set seemed to boost his confidence in the 2nd set and the Brit seemed less nervous than he did in the opening stages of the match. Isner was still playing some really good aggressive tennis but Murray was able to thwart everything that was thrown at him and hold his serve a lot more comfortably than he did in the 1st set, this seemed to awake the 7,700 capacity crowd who were making some deafening noise after every point Murray won. At 3-2 up in the third set Murray really began to step up the pressure on the Isner serve, a brilliant return forced an error from Isner to give Murray his first break point of the match . What followed was simply wonderful, after drawing Isner into the net Murray was able to hit a stunning lob over the giant American to give himself the break and a 4-2 lead in the set. An errant service game from Isner was all it was needed for Murray to take full control of the set, and the Brit showed no signs of nerve as he sealed the 6-3 with a hold to love.
In the opening game of the 3rd set, Murray found himself with three break points after piling pressure on the Isner serve with some brilliant returns. The American might well have given up at this point considering he faced the task of coming from two sets to love down to keep USA in the tie. However, he held firm and with some brilliant serving he won four points in a row and managed to hold for a 1-0 lead in the 3rd set. In the game that followed Isner even had half a chance on the Murray serve as he brought him to deuce with some aggressive Tennis, but some clutch play from Murray once again allowed him to hold for 1-1. After missing the opportunity to break Isner in the first game of the set, Murray cast a rather frustrated figure, berating himself on multiple occasions and even screaming “NO” when he was unable to return an Isner serve.
Murray was able to conjure up half a chance on the Isner serve at 4-4 with a nice forehand pass getting him to 30-30 in the game, however Isner fired down two booming aces in a row to hold for 5-4, much to the frustration of Murray who would now have to serve to stay in the set. Murray did experience a bit of a trouble serving to stay in the set, finding himself 0-30 down, but some accurate serving got him out of trouble as he won four straight points to hold. Isner replied with another hold of his own for a 6-5 lead, forcing Murray to serve to stay in the set once more, this time he had no trouble, holding to love to send the set into a tiebreak much to the delight of the packed out crowd who by this point were stamping their feet on the floor to make even more noise.
The finishing line was in sight for Murray and early on in the tie break he was able to get a mini break to go 3-1 up after ending up wonderfully crafted point with a smash winner. Isner was fading fast and at 5-2 down in the breaker he dumped a tired looking back into the net, giving Murray four match points. Two of the match points were saved by Isner but on his third match point Murray hit an ace out wide to secure a straight sets win, sending the packed out crowd wild. Isner looked to be an emotional wreck after he match, nearly in tears, and emotionally spent, while Murray truly looked delighted to have helped his nation win in what was a home event for him in his Scottish homeland, he truly enjoyed the entire Davis Cup experience this week, showing great chemistry with his coach Leon Smith, his brother Jamie of course, and his other teammates James Ward and Dom Inglot.
Murray’s win had ensured victory for Great Britain, giving them an unassailable 3-1 lead. The tie eventually ended 3-2 to Great Britain with the USA’s Donald Young beat Great Britain’s James Ward despite winning one less game. Ward retired at 7-5 0-1 up, citing a sore knee. It was most likely just a precautionary measure from the Brit, who is due to play Indian Wells qualifying on Tuesday.
Bryans Force Live Rubber Tennis on Sunday With a Win over Inglot/J. Murray in Davis Cup Doubles Joe Craven for Tennis Atlantic
Bob and Mike Bryan ensured that the USA lived to fight another day in their World Group tie against Great Britain, as they survived a valiant fightback from the British pairing of Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot to win 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-7 (8) 9-7. USA trail the tie 2-1 heading into the final day of the tie but will take some confidence from the way Bob and Mike held their nerve in what was a must win rubber.
Prior to this particular match Murray and Inglot had only played together as a pair over 12 years ago in junior events and their lack of experience as a team showed early on in the 1st set, with Murray especially struggling to get used to the conditions of playing with a different partner than he usually does. The Scot looked rather nervous on serve and in the 4th game of the set the Bryans were able to break the Murray serve to go 3-1 up after forcing the play and piling the pressure on the scratch pairing. Murray and Inglot did manage to break the Bryans right back in the following game, but with the Scot continuing to struggle on serve, the outcome of the set was rather inevitable. At 4-3 up in the set a poor second serve from Murray was hit for a winner by Bob Bryan to bring up a break point for the Americans and Murray dumped a nervous volley into the net to hand the Bryans the break and a 5-3 lead. The Americans had no issues in the following game and held with ease to take the 1st set 6-3.
With the hopes of the USA firmly resting on the shoulders of the Bryans, they continued to show their class in the 2nd set, whilst Great Britain’s Jamie Murray continued to show his nerves. In just the 3rd game of the set the Scot squandered a 40 love lead to give the Bryans a chance to break and after a long rally Mike Bryan hit a stunning cross court forehand pass to convert the break point and give his team a 2-1 lead in the 2nd set. The pairing of Murray and Inglot were really struggling to get into the match and despite some good service games from Inglot the pair could do nothing of note on return. It was perhaps rather unsurprising that at 4-2 down and with Murray serving the pair once again found themselves in trouble. The Bryans forced the play once more and punished Murray for yet more week serving to break for a 5-2 lead, by this point Murray had lost all 4 of his service games in the match. Mike Bryan had the task of serving the set out for the Bryans and he had no no problems in doing so as he held to love to give his team a 2 sets to 0 lead, much to the delight of USA captain Jim Courier.
Murray and Inglot were determined not to go down without a fight and as the crowd raised their level of noise at the start of the 3rd set, the pair began to raise their level of tennis. Murray was determined to make amends for his poor serving in the 1st two sets and in the 3rd game of the set the Scot comfortably hold his serve to 15 to give Britain a 2-1 lead in the set. The game that followed was an thrilling one with both teams producing some stunning Tennis which had the Glasgow crowd on their feet multiple times. Two break points came and went for the British team but after saving four game points points of the Bryans, they found themselves with another break point and at the 3rd time of asking the Brits converted to take a 3-1 lead in the 3rd set. Inglot had been holding serve with relative ease throughout the match and another convincing hold from the man nicknamed ‘Dom the Bomb’ quickly extended the Brits lead to 4-1 in the set. The rest of the set flew by rather quickly with none of the four players on court experiencing any struggle on their serve. Dom Inglot served the set out to 15 to take the 3rd set 6-3 for the Brits.
After starting the match extremely slowly, Murray and Inglot now seemed like a pair who’d been playing together as a team for years and their confidence just seemed to grow even more in the 4th set. The pair were able to save a break point against their serve early on in the set and they even had two opportunities to break a couple of games later, but the Bryans held firm and quashed both of the Brits chances rather comfortably. The Brits were forced to serve to stay in the match twice and despite experiencing some slight trouble on his serve at 6-5 down, Jamie Murray was able to hold and send the 4th set into a tiebreaker.
In that 4th set tiebreak, both teams held their nerve on serve until the 2-3 service point, as the Bryans went up a minibreak by winning a point off of Jamie Murray’s serve to go up 4-2, and put themselves three points away from clinching the rubber. However, team GB would fight back as the partisan crowd never lost hope , Inglot finished a volley at the net between the two Americans to prevent them from earning a match point, and then won the 4-5 point for 5-5 entirely by himself, with a strong serve and two quality volleys. The Bryans netted to go down 5-6 in the fourth set breaker. The Bryans did get it back to 6 all, but again Inglot was clutch, skying for an overhead volley to give GB a minibreak and a set point at 7-6. To the chagrin of the crowd, the British team again failed to convert, and team USA won the next point also for a match point at 8-7 on Bob Bryan’s serve. Bob Bryan slipped when faced with Inglot’s curving stab return and the match point was saved to push the tiebreak to an agonizing 8 all. After Inglot had done most of the damage for team GB in the tiebreak, it was Jamie Murray who forced the third set point at 9-8 as his forehand return just found the edge of the outside doubles line. Team GB finally forced a fifth with a volley winner by Murray sending the crowd into a frenzy.
In that deciding fifth set, the Americans got a half chance at 1-1, as they went up 0-30 on Murray’s serve but Murray and his teammate would claw back and win five of the next six points to go up 2-1. Both teams would hold serve all the way to 7-7, as there were no break point chances to be had with quality serving by both teams. At 7 all, team GB went up 40-15, but collapsed from there, as Inglot netted a chest volley for 40-30, .whiffed on an overhead for deuce and netted another volley to generate a break point chance for the Americans. They broke for 8-7 as Murray netted a forehand volley. In that 8-7 game, the Bryans won four consecutive points from 0-15, and on the match point the British team sent the ball long. The Bryans finished with their trademark chestbump, knowing they had kept the tie alive for team USA.
Murray and Heroic James Ward give Great Britain a 2-0 lead over USA after Day One at the Davis Cup Joe Craven for Tennis Atlantic
James Ward was once again the hero for Great Britain, as he followed up Andy Murray’s 4 set win over Donald Young with a jaw dropping come back from 2 sets to love down against John Isner to put the Brits in the driving seat with a 2-0 lead after day one of the tie, much to the delight of a packed crowd at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
Many people wrote Ward off before the match and despite his past Davis Cup heroics, including a win over American Sam Querrey in San Diego last year after being 2 sets to 1 down, he was the clear underdog against the 6 ft 10 American. Isner was dominant on serve early on and it took Ward until Isner’s 3rd service game to register a return point. However the Brit was not at all disheartened by this, replying with many comfortable service holds himself and when asked the question by Isner to serve to stay in the set at 6-5 down the Ward answered with a convincing love hold to send the 1st set into a tiebreaker. Despite not having much of a look in on Isner’s serve throughout the set Ward did manage to get the advantage 1st set tiebreaker forcing the American into an error to take a 4-2 lead. However, Ward’s lead in the tiebreaker didn’t last for long after a lucky netcord winner from Isner bought put things back on serve, the American showed exactly why he holds the best tie break record on the tour as he ran away with things from there and took the tiebreaker 7-4.
Despite obvious disappointment of Isner taking the first set, the Glasgow crowd remained in full voice in an attempt to not only pump Ward up but also to put Isner under pressure. However the American was having none of it at first, and the second set was very much like the first set with he remaining in firm control of his service games at the start. Isner began to make inroads on Ward’s service games and at 2-2 30-30 he hit a crushing forehand return winner to bring up break point, however he was extremely passive on the break point and ended up dumping a routine backhand into the net, Ward quickly escaped trouble and won the following two points to hold. Isner didn’t let the disappointment failing to convert the opportunities get to him as he quickly held to love and once again piled the pressure on Ward’s service game. The set followed the same pattern throughout, Isner was holding with ease whilst Ward was struggling on almost all of his service games. A forehand down the line winner at 5-5 30-30 gave Isner his second chance of the set to break and the giant American did just that to give himself the opportunity to serve out the set. Rather unsurprisingly Isner served out the second set to 15, giving himself a 7-6 (4), 7-5 lead in the match. As the sold out 7,700 capacity crowd inside the emirates arena raised their volume, Ward raised his game. inspiring himself rather than losing hope, much to the delight of Captain Leon Smith and his team GB teammate, including Andy Murray who was watching from the GB bench.
Wardy, who was on the back foot for most of the 1st and 2nd sets began to get a read on Isner’s serve on early on in the 3rd and Isner began to play some extremely passive tennis. Ward certainly wasn’t going to go down without a fight and after a stunning forehand pass he found himself with break points on Isner’s serve serve at 3-2 in the 3rd set. What followed was almost a mirror of the previous point as Ward drew Isner into the net and once more hit a forehand pass to break for a 4-2 lead in the 3rd set. Ward celebrated the break in style as he ran about the court and waved his arms in the air to pump the raucous pro GB crowd up even more. With the crowd firmly behind him there was no way Ward was going to let the set slip from his firm grasp, after some solid play in the latter stages of the 3rd an ace out wide sealed the set 6-3 for the Brit forcing a 4th set.
After a high intensity 3rd set from Ward his level rather unsurprisingly dropped slightly in the 4th set, not that it really mattered because Isner was doing nothing on return in Ward’s service games early on anyway. Both men were holding with relative ease but at 3-3 in the set on Isner’s serve Ward did manage to bring up a break point but Isner saved it well with a nice inside out forehand winner. In the very next game Isner managed to get to get a 30-0 lead on the Ward serve, but the Brit who was determined not to let his momentum be taken away from him recovered well winning 3 straight points to hold for 4-4. Despite being asked to serve to stay in the match twice by Isner, Ward held firm and with a fantastic game at 5-6 down which saw him lob 6 ft 10 Isner he headed headed into the tiebreaker full of confidence. With a mixture of sloppy play from Isner and some fantastic play from Ward in the tiebreaker, the Brit found himself with a 6-1 lead and despite Isner’s saving 2 of those there was no stopping Ward as he pressured Isner into hitting a forehand long to take the 4th set tiebreaker 7-3. The crowd was at fever pitch and as Ward celebrated winning the 4th set Andy Murray roared his approval towards his compatriot who had done a fantastic job of turning things around and leveling the set.
Ward remained in the drivers seat early in the 5th set, dictating play and punishing Isner for his passive play. Despite his teammates best efforts to fire him up Isner looked extremely down on himself and rather disappointed that he’d let a 2 sets to 0 lead slip from his grasp. Isner was able to hold serve but he wasn’t getting any in roads on the Ward’s serve and as the set went on it it seemed more and more likely that Ward was going to pull it out of the bag. At 4-3 on Isner’s serve in the 5th Ward found himself with his first break opportunity on the set but Isner was able to save this break point with a booming serve that the Brit was unable to return.
Ward who had much better body language than Isner at this point didn’t let the disappointment of failing to take the break point get to him, as he confidently served his following service game out to 15 with some fine shotmaking forcing Isner to serve to stay in the match at 5-4 down. Ward continued to heap the pressure on the American and after being 30-0 down in Isner’s service game at 5-4 Ward won 3 straight points, which including a most wonderful sliced forehand pass, to give himself match point. The crowd was going absolutely mental but Isner was quick the save the match point with some rather clutch tennis. Ward did force another break point in this 10th game of the set but Isner held firm and this time saved it with an un-returnable serve before eventually going on to hold and make it 5-5 in the 5th. Fast forward to ten games later at 10-9 in the set an untimely unforced error from Isner gave Ward yet another match point, the American was able to save it once more but there was a huge sense of inevitability about the match outcome with a tired Isner lumbering about the court it was clear that the result was on Ward’s racket.
Isner did manage to force some break points at 11-11 in the set, but Ward held firm and punished the American for being too passive on the break points. Two match points came and went for Ward following this game but despite this he remained focused and continued to pile the pressure on Isner. After some horrible unforced error’s from Isner serving to stay in the match at 14-13, Ward found himself with 3 match points and he made no mistake with converting this time as he forced Isner to dump a backhand into the net and take the match 6-7 (5) 5-7 6-3 7-6 (3) 15-13.
The crowd went absolutely ballistic as Ward rushed towards team captain Leon Smith to give him a massive hug, he’d completed yet another Davis Cup comeback, with this one undoubtedly being the biggest upset of his career. Perhaps it was rather apt that the song “500 miles” by The Proclaimers played over the PA system after the match, because James Ward had figuratively speaking. His fitness was much more impressive than the higher ranked American Isner, who he has now beaten twice this season. Ward was sprinting about, even late in the fifth, while Isner was gingerly walking about the court. A poor run of form in 2015 continues for Isner, as he will be sorely lacking confidence in case he is needed to play a live rubber against Murray on Sunday.
Earlier on in the day Andy Murray ensured Great Britain got off to the best possible start as he beat Donald Young 6-1 6-1 4-6 6-2. Murray was in the ascendancy from the get go, the 27 year old from Dunblane won the toss and elected to receive and broke Young’s serve in the opening game of the match. Murray consolidated the break in stylish fashion, hitting one of his trademark backhand passes early on in the game and holding with an ace. Young managed to hold serve in his second service game of the match after a bit of a struggle but from there on in it was all Murray in the 1st set. Murray dictated play and raced away with the set taking it 6-1 in 21 minutes, hitting nary an unforced error in the process.
It was more of the same in the 2nd set as Young struggled to get a foothold on proceedings, clearly struggling from nerves in front of a partisan crowd. After an easy hold to start the set Murray found himself with break points in the 2nd game after hitting a fantastic return winner followed by a crisp backhand down the line. The Brit didn’t even need to hit the ball to get the break as Young hit a double fault to hand Murray a 2-0 lead early on in the set. Murray was certainly feeding off the 7,700 capacity crowd as he continued to hold with ease, whilst Young struggled on his service games. Murray broke Young once again rather comfortably for 5-1 lead and he served the set out to 15 much to the delight of the Glasgow crowd.
Young was determined not to go down without a fight and began to play much better tennis in the 3rd, a testament to the American’s new found mental strength. Despite Murray continuing to pile pressure on Young, unlike in the 1st and 2nd sets Young was able to hold firm and avert any danger on his serve. Murray was still playing well but it was clear the level he was playing in the 3rd set wasn’t as good as his 1st and 2nd set level. Jim Courier and the rest of the US team was pumping Young up from the sidelines and in the 7th game of the set Young responded to the good vibes to get his first love hold of the match and take a 4-3 lead in the set. After some rather loose play from Murray, who was serving to stay in the set at 5-4 down, Young found himself with his 1st break point of the match, which happened to also be set point and the set was his after Murray sent a forehand long temporarily silencing the Glasgow crowd.
The 4th set began with a hold to love from Young, The American had some new found confidence and was playing arguably his best tennis of the match so far. However, Murray wasn’t at all phased by Young’s revival as he replied straight away with a hold to love to level the set at 1-1 and put the pressure right back on Young. The Brit wasn’t going to let his lead in the match slip even more and really stepped up the gas in the 3rd game of the set, forcing Young into yet more errors to bring up a break point, Murray duly converted the break point to give himself a 2-1 lead, he followed this with a hold to 15 in his following service game to consolidated the break in style. From there on in the 4th set was all Murray as he raised his level to one that almost matched the level he played in the 1st and 2nd sets. With Young serving at 4-2 down in the set some Murray produced some brilliant tennis as he took it to Young and carved out 2 break points, he was able to convert on his 1st break point to get a 5-2 lead. Murray was extremely pumped up and as he stepped up to serve out the match the noise inside the arena was almost deafening. The Brit who seemed extremely confident and unfazed by the occasion served the match out to 15 to secure a 6-1 6-1 4-6 6-2 victory. After winning the match Murray pumped his fist repeatedly and it was clear to see how much the win meant to him in front of his home crowd as he continued to celebrate in exuberant fashion.
USA-Great Britain Renew Davis Cup Rivalry in Glasgow, Joe Craven Previews Joe Craven for Tennis Atlantic
The Draw being Made
Hello, my name is Joe Craven and over the next few days I’ll be providing Tennis Atlantic with on-site credentialed coverage from The Davis Cup World Group tie between Great Britain and The USA. Tennis Atlantic is one of the select few USA based media outlets to have a credentialed journalist in Glasgow for the tie.
The tie will take place at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on indoor hard court, and it will be the 20th meeting between the two founding nations of The Davis Cup with USA currently leading the head to head 11-8. The two teams last faced in the 1st round of the World Group last year. That tie took place on clay in San Diego, with Great Britain winning the meeting 3 rubbers to 1. The last time Great Britain beat USA on home soil was back in 1935, so that should give USA some confidence as they look to quickly avenge last years loss.
The Bryans, Isner and Young make up team USA
Team GB, captained by Leon Smith, consists of Andy Murray, James Ward, Jamie Murray and Dominic Ingot, with Liam Broady and Kyle Edmund as the next generation hitting partners. Team USA, captained by Jim Courier, consists of John Isner, Donald Young, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, with junior sensations Francis Tiafoe and Stefan Kozlov as hitting partners.
Team GB, Murray brothers, Ward and Inglot
The draw for the tie took place today and the order of play is as follows:
Day 1 – Andy Murray vs Donald Young followed by John Isner vs James Ward
Day 2 – Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan vs Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot
Day 3 – Andy Murray vs John Isner followed by Donald Young vs James Ward
Play will begin at 1pm GMT each day.
Day 1 Preview and picks
Donald Young (Photo: Chris Levy @Tennis_Shots for TennisEastCoast.com)
A. Murray vs. Young
Murray heads into this match with 7-0 win/loss in Davis Cup singles matches on Hard Court, his overall Davis Cup singles record is 19-2. Young has only played a Davis Cup match once, losing to Murray last year in straight sets on the clay in San Diego. Given Murray sets high standards for himself the Scot has had a less than ideal start to his season. Murray did make the final of The Australian Open where he lost to Novak Djokovic in 4 sets, but after this he’s suffered losses to Gilles Simon in Rotterdam and Borna Coric in Dubai.
Donald Young on the other hand has certainly had a good start to the season by his standards, the American reached the Quarter Finals in Auckland, the Semi Finals in Memphis and the Final of Delray Beach. Young’s 10-5 start to the season is the best start he’s had since turning pro and to put things into perspective it took him until June last year to notch 10 wins, whilst he’s already managed that amount of wins this year by February. Murray leads the head to head between the two 3-1 and as mentioned the two last faced in the tie between the two nations last year, with Murray winning that encounter in 3 sets.
After last years meeting between the two, Young will go into this tie looking to prove a point and given his recent form I think he will play Murray a lot closer than he did last year. Murray will also be looking to make of for his recent disappointments in Rotterdam and Dubai and is bound to step up his game in front of his home crowd. I think that this match has the potential to be the match of the tie and with both men having a point to prove we’re in for an amazing match. On paper Murray is the clear favourite, he has more a lot more Davis Cup experience than Donald Young and has had a far superior career to the American.
However, Young does hold a win over Murray and his fantastic form so far this season should give him a lot of confidence going into this match. Young’s serve has probably been the weakest part of his game so far this year, and with Murray being one of the best returners on tour.
Young will need to serve a lot better than he has in the past few months if he wants to have any chance of winning this match. Murray stated in the post-draw press conference that he wants to ‘try and play the same style of match’ as he did vs Young last year in San Diego and plans to employ the ‘same tactics’.
Murray needs to be the aggressor in this match because if he shows up with a passive style of play it will allow Donald Young to execute his game style well and trouble the Scot. I expect Murray will win the match but it will be a lot closer than many people think and the Emirates Arena will be in for a great match to start proceedings.
Prediction: Murray in 5 sets.
Ward vs. Isner
Both Ward and Isner have some fantastic results in the Davis Cup and you could argue some of these results were the best of each players respective careers. Isner has notched Davis Cup wins over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Gilles Simon and Roger Federer all on clay, whilst James Ward came back from 2 sets to 1 down to beat Sam Querrey when Great Britain and USA met least year in San Diego.
Isner had to miss the tie between the two sides last year due to an injury and said in the pre-draw press conference that “it was tough to swallow”, he will certainly have added motivation to lead his team to victory this year and finally find some good form after a slow start to his 2015. Ward has also had a slow start to 2015, with a less than ideal 1-3 win/loss record. In the pre-draw press conference the Brit mentioned that his win vs Querrey last year was the “biggest moment” in his career and a win vs Isner on Friday would arguably be even bigger. The two have only met an official event once and that was at a Challenger in Savannah on clay, with Isner winning that match 7-6 (4) 7-5.
They also met at an exhibition event in Kooyong this year with Ward winning that match 3-6 7-6 6-2, although though it has to be noted that exhibition matches don’t really have any bearing on what the outcome of a Davis Cup meeting will be.
Isner is the strong favourite for this match, given neither man has shown good form this season you’d always back the superior ranked player to get the win. Ward hasn’t really had any recent results to suggest that he can pull off the upset here and the slow indoor hard court should suit Isner’s game, as it allows him to run around the backhand and hit forehands which is undoubtedly his biggest weapon outside of his serve. Of course with a partisan crowd behind him you cannot write of Ward completely and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he takes a set from Isner, but ultimately I expect the American to ease to victory.
Prediction: Isner in 4 sets.
Day Two Preview and picks.
Doubles Rubber (J. Murray/Inglot vs. Bryan/Bryan tentatively)
Whilst Leon Smith has named Jamie Murray and Dom Ingot as the doubles pairing to face The Bryan Brothers, many people expect, or rather want, to see The Murray Brothers vs The Bryan Brothers. If the two sets of brothers did face it would certainly be a fantastic spectacle in front of a packed Glasgow crowd and it would be the first time doubles pairings consisting of brothers have faced off at World Group level and the 6th brothers vs brothers match at any level of the competition.
The last meeting between two sets of brothers at any Davis Cup level happened way back in 2007 when Victor Estrella and Henry Estrella of The Dominican Republic defeated Marcelo Arevalo and Rafael Arevalo of El Salvador. Jamie and Andy have only played together once in a Davis Cup match, in which they beat Laurent Bram and Mike Vermeer of Luxembourg in a Europe/Africa Group 2 tie, however the two brothers do have experience of playing together every so often on tour and they’ve captured ATP 500 titles in both Valencia and Tokyo in the past.
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan are the most successful doubles pairing of all time and have respective Davis Cup doubles records of 27-6 and 24-5. In the post draw press conference Andy Murray said that he’s “unlikely to play doubles” and whilst this might be a bluff by the British team as a whole leaving Andy’s inclusion in the doubles until the last minute, one has to assume that it will be Jamie and Dom that face The Bryan Brothers. Jamie and Dom have never played doubles together before and this, as well as the fact they are scheduled to face the best doubles team of all time, is probably one of the biggest obstacles they face heading into the match. Both Jamie and Dom have earned wins over The Bryans’ in the past with Dom notching two recent wins against the pair alongside main tour partner Florin Mergea at The Australian Open and again in Dubai. Jamie’s win against the pair came in 2013 at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston where he partnered with John Peers.
If the scheduled match up does happen, the Bryan Brother’s should have no issues in winning the match. The pair are used to this stage with over 60 Davis Cup doubles matches combined, they know what they’ll have to do to get the job done. The only chance Jamie and Dom will have of winning is if they have instant chemistry as a pair, whilst some first time doubles pairings do it’s never an easy task, especially in important matches like this. The British duo will need to feed off the crowd if they’re to have any chance of winning on Saturday, that is of course the selections remain as they are.
Prediction: The Bryan Brothers in 3 sets.
Day Three Preview and picks.
With my predictions so far I have The USA leading 2-1 going into the final day of the tie. These things are always tough to predict but I always like to be bold with my predictions because it’s no fun otherwise. Day 3 will certainly be an exciting one and will be a fitting end to what I think will be a fantastic tie.
Reverse Singles #1 (A. Murray vs. Isner tentatively)
Murray and Isner have met 3 times in the past and Murray has been victorious on all three occasions, with his last win over the giant American coming in a tight three setter in Cincinnati last year. Murray usually relishes these sort of match ups against big servers who don’t posses much of a ground game and I expect his best tennis of the weekend to come against Isner.
With Murray being one of the best returners in the game he’ll most likely have a lot of look ins on the Isner serve, especially given the current poor form that Isner is in. Murray should be able to bully Isner around the the court and punish him wherever possible, dictating the rallies from the get go. Of course, given Isner’s past Davis Cup heroics you can’t write him off completely but I’d be extremely surprised if he manages to do anything special here.
Prediction: Andy Murray in 3 sets.
Murray beating Isner on the Sunday would set things up nicely for a crucial 5th rubber, and what’s Davis Cup without a crucial 5th rubber?! The stage would be set for either James Ward to become Davis Cup heroes and give their nation the win.
Rubber 5 (Ward vs. Young tentatively)
If this match does take place, what a way it would be to end the weekend, both players are big underachievers in their careers, and whoever gets the win here would take massive confidence from it. In the post-draw press conference Young said that “he’s feeling a lot more confident than he was last year” and I think he goes into this potential match up as the slight favourite. Young still has some lapses in concentration and if this happens in a crucial 5th rubber it could be curtains for the American, especially against Ward who has relished being in front of home crowd before.
The two have faced just once before, with Young managing a straight sets win on the grass of Eastbourne in 2014. I don’t think that match will have much bearing on what happens on Sunday if the two do meet because Ward generally steps up his game for Davis Cup and Young is in much better form than he was last year. I think a match between the two will come down to some very fine margins.
Prediction: Donald Young in 4 tight sets.
Final Result: USA d. Great Britain 3-2
So there we have it, I have the USA beating Great Britain 3-2 in the tie which would see them avenge last years loss in San Diego. I think the tie could still go either way and it wouldn’t surprise me if the doubles nominations do change.
I hope you enjoyed my tie preview and I look forward providing Tennis Atlantic with full coverage of the throughout the weekend. If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can tweet me at @prodigyrep
UK Tennis blogger Glenys Furness caught up with 21 year old Liam Broady, The Englishman is currently at a career high ranking of 180 in the world and just turned pro last season. Since turning pro he has already reached final round qualies at the AO this year, and reached an ATP challenger final last year at the end of the season, along with multiple futures tour titles. He and his sister Naomi are both UK based tennis professionals and he appears poised for a breakthrough. Broady was prepped for success at the junior level as he reached two junior slam finals (Wimbledon 2011, US Open 2012), and won two junior grand slam doubles titles (Wimbledon 2010, Australian Open 2012) between 2010 and 2012.
Liam Broady took time out of his preparations for the Memphis ATP 250 qualifying to talk with me. I am grateful to both Liam and to his fitness trainer Ric Moylan for giving me some time. Liam is ranked 180 in the world currently, and is the British number 4 men’s singles player by ranking.
“How did you get involved with (Life Coach) Adrian Tannock” “I got involved with Adrian via Ric (Moylan) around 4 years ago. My Dad was looking for assistance in finding ways to develop the psychological element of my tennis. Ric and Adrian had worked together previously with other athletes so after Ric introduced us, we developed a strong relationship from there.”
“What does Ric have you doing during the off season” “Ric has me doing pretty much everything that hurts. I’ve grown to love doing the hard work that Ric has taught me will bring me success, and he’s an indispensable member of my team.”
“If British Davis Cup Captain Leon Smith selected you for the Davis Cup, what would this mean to you” “It would be amazing and an honour to represent my country at the highest level of tennis, playing the sport I love around fantastic people. Playing Davis Cup has always been at the top of my ambitions to achieve.”
“What match from the US Challenger matches last year has resonated the most, and why?” “The biggest result on paper was beating Tim Smyzcek in 3 sets after losing to him pretty comfortably only a few weeks before although the match I think I played best in was against Peter Torebko the round after.”
“There has been a lot in the press recently on the financial burden on players, how do you make ends meet and what sacrifices have you made?” “Tennis is an expensive sport to participate in and at lower levels the rewards financially are next to none. Over the last couple of years since I left home I have had sponsorships from Nike and Dunlop that have helped massively and of course support from the LTA has been invaluable.”
“Looking ahead, what is your next major goal?” “My next major goal is to finish the year in the top 100. Apart from that I just want to focus on improving as a player and a person.”
“Who do you feel are the next up and coming stars of British Tennis?” “I would like to think that myself and Kyle Edmund are! But after that I’m not too sure, I haven’t spent much time in England the last few years but I know that Marcus Walters who is coached by Leighton Alfred in Nottingham plays very well as does Max Stewart who is also at Nottingham.”
Thank you again to Liam and Ric for the opportunity to speak together, and best of luck in the Memphis qualifying.-Glenys