Andy Murray has ended Great Britain’s 79-year wait for a Davis Cup title after beating world No.16 David Goffin 6-3, 7-5, 6-3, at the Flanders Expo in Belgium.
Going into the match Britain was in control of proceedings, leading the tie 2-1 followings wins in the Singles by Murray on Friday as well as the crucial doubles tie on Saturday.
The match was a nervous encounter for both players who were playing in front of a highly animated crowd in Ghent. Both player had to contend with off-putting sounds set off by members of the crowd whilst they were serving, sparking numerous warnings from the umpire. Despite facing Goffin on his home soil, Murray had the edge going into the final day with a head-to-head lead of 2-0. The Belgian has never won a set against the world No.2, a trait which has continued after today’s encounter.
Murray has become the third man to score a perfect 8-0 winning record in singles matches in a Davis Cup season since the introduction of the World Group in 1981 after John McEnroe (1981) and Mats Wilander (1982). He is the fourth player to win 11 matches, including his four doubles wins this year and the fourth member of the Big Four to win the Davis Cup, following in the footsteps of Novak Djokovic (2010), Rafa Nadal (2011) and Roger Federer (2014). Murray has also become the first player since Pete Sampras to win three matches (two singles and the doubles) in a Davis Cup final.
It is the 10th time that Great Britain has won the title, first since 1936. During this year’s tournament they have defeated three former Davis Cup champions (America, France and Australia) to reach the final before claiming their historic title against Belgium. Shortly after sealing the British victory, Murray spoke of his delight.
“I just can’t believe we did it,” said Murray.
“I play some of my best tennis when I’m playing for my country.”
This year’s achievement is a spectacular turnaround in Britain who was playing in the second group of the Europe/Africa four years ago. Guiding them to victory was captain Leon Smith, who has worked with the team since July 2010. After experiencing a roller-coaster journey, a visibly delighted Smith spoke of his delight.
“It is amazing, as good a feeling as I could imagine. Andy has shown himself to be an absolute superstar”. The British captain said.
“He will be the first to say that it is a team thing but what he has done is astonishing. I am proud of everyone.”
Despite the disappointment, this weekend has also been a breakthrough experience for Belgium who played in their first final since 1904.
Since 2010 Great Britain have a Davis Cup win-loss record of 12-3. The only three countries they have lost within the past five years are Lithuania (2010), Belgium (2012) and Italy (2014).
Missed the match? Here is a recap
At 1-0 Murray hit a winner for 30-40 to bring up a break point, but Goffin saved it to hold his serve. Murray hit an ace down the middle for 40-0 before holding his serve to love with a winner in the third game for 2-1. Goffin won his service game to love with an ace for 2-2. The Belgian earned his first break point chance as Murray hit his backhand into the net. Murray held his serve for 3-2 after hitting a deep serve that Goffin could not get back. Murray hit a forehand pass and two returns to convert the break point chance to love for 4-2. Murray consolidated the break point in the next game with a cross-court pass winner for 5-2. Goffin saved three set points on serve, but Murray closed out the set with a forehand into the corner.
In the second game of the second set Goffin earned the second break point of the match when Murray hit his forehand long at deuce but could not capitalise it. Goffin fended off two break points to hold serve for 2-1 after a 10-minute third game. Murray held his serve in the fourth game to love for 2-2. Goffin made his second double fault of the match, but he held his serve to 15 as Murray hit a forehand reply into the net.
Murray hit a half-volley drop-shot to go up 15-30 on Goffin’s serve. Goffin hit a smash to draw level to 30-30. At 40-30 Goffin hit a forehand down the line winner to hold his serve for 4-3. Murray hit three aces to hold his serve to love.
At 5-4 Goffin clawed his way back from 0-40 to 30-40 but he dumped into the net. Murray earned a break point with a forehand and broke serve at the most crucial moment to take the 6-5 lead as Goffin hit a forehand into the net. Murray went down 0-30 on his serve, but fought back with four consecutive points. He closed out the set with a cross-court forehand winner after a thrilling rally.
Goffin brought up two break point chances at 15-40 in the second game of the third set and converted his second chance when Murray dumped a forehand into the net.
Murray brought up two break-back points with a forehand cross-court winner and broke straight back in the third game for 1-2. Murray fired a service winner off his second serve to win his service game.
Goffin went up 40-15 with a forehand down the line and won the fifth game with a winner for 3-2. Goffin earned a break point with a forehand, but Murray saved it with a serve down the middle.
Murray got the crucial break to love at 5-3 and sealed the win on his second match point with a backhand lob.
Davis Cup Finals Tournament Director Asks For Patience Ahead Of November Edition
Davis Cup Finals tournament director Albert Costa is asking for patience as he believes the tournament will be an overwhelming success
Davis Cup Finals Tournament Director Albert Costa has asked fans for their patience ahead of November’s edition.
The new format will see 18 teams compete in Madrid in November for the Davis Cup trophy with many people criticising the reforms.
However tournament director Albert Costa has asked tennis fans for patience as he believes in time the Finals will be a success, “After all, it’s one of the great competitions in the world of sports, very attractive, unique and novel for everyone, and for the players it will be a very attractive format,” Costa explained in an interview with Radio Marca.
“I do not see that it will go wrong, people have many expectations, that the first year is complicated and there may be some doubt, but I think it will be a success, I have no doubt. It comes out as we hope we will have patience and we will organize the second edition in a better way, but we do not contemplate that it does not go well.”
The Spaniard is also looking ahead to the future and is in current discussion to make the Fed Cup a combined event with the Davis Cup in the future, “The Federation Cup is a two-year project, we will see if it is viable, but we have it in our heads,” Costa explained.
“We are still negotiating and talking with the ATP to do a joint event and then a larger one of men and women, it is a project but it is not a reality yet. There are opinions for everyone, the changes always generate doubts and we have to show that the competition is attractive to everyone.”
The Davis Cup Finals takes place on the 18th-24th of November with a weakened field expected as Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin Del Potro and Alexander Zverev will all not participate in Madrid.
Gerard Pique Responds To Criticism From Lleyton Hewitt Over His Involvement In Davis Cup
The 32-year-old is hoping that he can prove critics wrong with the new controversial format.
Kosmos founder Gerard Pique has told The Daily Mail he ‘respects’ the opinion of Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, despite being heavily criticised by the former world No.1.
Pique is the head of the company that is overseeing the transformation of the Davis Cup. Later this year 18 teams will play in a week-long showdown that has been dubbed the ‘World Cup’ of tennis. The revamp, who was approved by a vote last August, has divided opinion within the sport. Australia has been one of the most vocal critics of the revamp with Hewitt taking aim at Pique last month.
“Now we’re getting run by a Spanish football player, which is like me come out and asking to change things for the Champions League,” Hewitt told reporters. “He knows nothing about tennis.”
Responding to the comment for the first time, Pique has tried to cool down the argument. Stating that he has no intention of ‘changing the rules of tennis.’ Although under the new format, Davis Cup matches are now best-of-three sets and the finals will see three matches played per tie instead of five.
“I respect the opinion of Lleyton, he was a great player. What I can say is that while I’m the President of Kosmos we are full of people who know tennis, people like Albert Costa, who has won a Grand Slam.” Pique told The Daily Mail.
“I can understand that when a footballer comes in the tennis world it can seem a little bit awkward or strange, but at the end of the day I’m not going to be changing the rules of tennis. I understand that I’m the new one here and I try to understand everyone. In the time we are living now it is easy to say whatever you think. If it’s with respect it’s fine.”
Kosmos has pledged to invest $3 billion into the new competition over the next 25 years. Their backers include Indian Wells Masters owner Larry Ellison, Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani and even football superstar Lionel Messi. As a result of Ellison’s involvement, Indian Wells have been mentioned as a strong candidate to hold the Davis Cup finals in the future. Although the logistics may be hard if the ATP Finals continues to be held in London. In the current schedule, the Davis Cup finale takes place straight after the ATP Finals.
“It is something we are talking about and it’s a possibility,” Pique commented about Indian Wells as a venue.
“You have pros and cons, we chose Madrid because it’s next to London. Indian Wells is far away but the facilities are incredible.”
Due to the involvement of the Barcelona F.C. footballer, the competition is referred by some as the ‘Pique Cup.’ Something that doesn’t go down too well with the 32-year-old.
“I hate it, because it’s not about me and I don’t want my name on the competition,” he said. “Davis Cup history is so big. I hope we can change this opinion. After a few years I hope they go back and say “We were wrong, Davis Cup is more alive than ever.”
The Davis Cup finals will be played between November 18-24.
ITF, Kosmos Confident Controversial Davis Cup Revamp Will Be A Hit As Draw Is Unveiled
The groups for the the finals of the team tournament has been decided with ITF President Davis Haggerty describing the event as ‘traditional, whilst having innovation.’
The draw has taken place for the inaugural Davis Cup finals with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) reiterating their support for the controversial new format.
On Thursday evening, 18 teams learned which group they have been placed in during a special ceremony in Madrid. In November 18 teams will participate in a week-long tournament held at the Caja Magica in what will be a historic change to the competition. The changes have been made after the plans was voted for in August by the majority of national tennis federations (71%). Although critics argue the change is too radical and kills the Davis Cup. There has also been heavy criticism regarding the decision to hold the finals at a neutral venue.
“Davis Cup is all about keeping tradition whilst having innovation at the same time.” Said ITF President David Haggerty.
“All of us have a special place in your heart for the Davis Cup, we all care about it. But where we are going with the Davis Cup is going to elevate it and make it better.” He later added.
There will be a total of six groups in the finals with three teams featuring in each one. Reigning champions Croatia has been placed alongside home favourites Spain and Russia. France, who were runners-up in 2018, will take on Serbia and Japan. Meanwhile, wild card entrants Great Britain has been given a favourable group alongside Kazakhstan and the Netherlands. The winner of each group and the two best second placed countries will progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.
Group A: France, Serbia, Japan
Group B: Croatia, Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina, Germany, Chile
Group D: Belgium, Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Netherlands
Group F: US, Italy, Canada
Overseeing the competition is investment firm Kosmos, whose 25-year $3 billion investment was pivotal is changing the Davis Cup. The company was founded by Barcelona F.C. footballer Gerard Pique. Who has generated both admiration and hate from the tennis community in recent months. Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt recently told reporters, ‘Now we’re getting run by a Spanish football player, which is like me come out and asking to change things for the Champions League.’
“I have been a fan of tennis since I was a kid. I saw the Davis Cup as an opportunity for a competition that can be great in the future.” Pique said in Spanish during the draw ceremony.
“I think we (Kosmos) are a great partner for the ITF to organise this competition and we truly believe that in the future, starting from this year, it will get better and better.”
Whilst there is enthusiasm, winning over die hard fans is proving to be a harder than expected. ITF chief Haggerty was questioned about the critics during the presentation, but refused to let it overshadow proceedings.
“I would encourage those people who are concerned about it to come to Madrid and see for yourselves.” He said.
The Davis Cup finals will take place between 18-24 November. All ties will consist of two singles matches and one in the doubles. All matches will be best-of-three sets.
Davis Cup Finals schedule
|Day||Round||Number of teams|
|18–21 Nov (Monday–Thursday)||Round Robin||18 (6 groups of 3 teams)|
|22 Nov (Friday)||Quarterfinals||8 (6 group winners + 2 best second place)|
|23 Nov (Saturday)||Semifinals||4 (automatically qualified for 2020 Davis Cup Finals)|
|24 Nov (Sunday)||Final||2|
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