Great Britain claim Davis Cup with win over Belgium

When Great Britain last won the Davis Cup, Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister, Jesse Owens was tearing up the athletics track, and Czechoslovakia was still a country. That was 1936 and a lot has changed. It may have taken 79 years, but Britain can now claim to be world champions once again following their victory over Belgium in the final.

In 1936, the British team had the likes of Fred Perry and Bunny Austin guiding them to glory, but now the charge is being led by a couple of brothers from Dunblane.

Not for the first time this year, Andy and Jamie Murray were responsible for winning all their matches in the tie, this time to secure a 3-1 win against a Belgium team cheered on by a raucous home crowd.

After an excruciating defeat for Davis Cup debutant Kyle Edmund in the first rubber of the tie against Belgium’s top player David Goffin, it looked ever more likely that the outcome of this final would rest largely on the broad shoulders of Britain’s number one. And boy, did he deliver.

Following a routine victory over Ruben Bemelmans on the Friday, Andy then teamed up with brother Jamie to record a crucial doubles win and hand the advantage back to the British team. With just one win needed from the final two rubbers to bring the Davis Cup back to the UK, Murray then went to work against Goffin.

Despite putting up a fine display, the Belgium player eventually succumbed 6-3, 7-5, 6-3, giving Britain the win and allowing the party to get started. Although he does not drink, perhaps even Murray will treat himself to a small glass of bubbly. Go on, you have earned it.

Of course, while the majority of the plaudits will go Andy Murray’s way (and rightfully so) it is also worth mentioning the effort of all the other players and coaches involved.

When Murray has not been able to compete, the likes of James Ward, Dan Evans, Dom Inglot, and Kyle Edmund have all stepped up to play their parts in this piece of history. With captain Leon Smith providing a steady hand on the rudder, Great Britain has successfully navigated its way from near relegation to the lowest tier of the tournament to its very highest peak.

And that is perhaps the most remarkable part of this Davis Cup story. Forget the fact that Murray had to win three best of five matches on consecutive days, and remember that just five years ago, Britain was a team competing against the likes of Turkey to keep its place on the world stage. Fast forward half a decade and the outlook for British tennis is looking increasingly positive.

While Andy Murray will continue to be the face of tennis in the United Kingdom, there are plenty of other reasons to be cheerful. With Jamie establishing himself as one of the top doubles players in the world, Dom Inglot enjoying the best season of his career so far, and Kyle Edmund looking like a truly exciting talent at just 20 years of age, there is a genuine belief that this Davis Cup could be more than just a flash in the pan.

Of course there is no way of knowing it just yet, but this is the sort of triumph that can hopefully inspire generations both current and future.

In the meantime however, it is a chance for all those involved to let their hair down and enjoy a much deserved celebration. After all, 79 years is a long time to wait for a party.

 

Image courtesy of Doha Stadium Plus Qatar.

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