Davis Cup Final: Belgium vs Great Britain
Sunday, November 29, 2015
A. MURRAY/D. Goffin
6-3, 7-5, 6-3
Great Britain – 3
Belgium – 1
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Andy, you’ve always rated your Olympic triumph as arguably the favorite of your career. How does that compare having the whole team around you?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it’s obviously an amazing feeling. You know, I imagine it will take a few days before it really sinks in.
But, yeah, I mean, probably haven’t been as emotional as that after a match that I’ve won. I’ve been pretty upset having lost matches before. But I’d say that’s probably the most emotional I’ve been after a win.
It’s incredible that we managed to win this competition. I didn’t know that would ever be possible. It’s great.
Q. Andy, since the summer, it seems like this has been what you’ve really set your heart on winning. At what stage of the year did you think that this was really, really possible?
ANDY MURRAY: I think after the France tie, to be honest. I think that was an incredibly tough match to win. They got four guys that are in the top 20 in the world pretty much. They obviously had Mahut that played the doubles. But Tsonga, Simon, Gasquet, Monfils. They have a great team with a lot of top players. They made the Final last year.
I think after we won that match, the match against Simon was incredibly tough mentally and physically for me. I found that match extremely difficult. Once we got through that, I really felt like we had a chance to do it.
Q. Leon, you sat courtside and watched all of Andy’s wins this year. Where do you think his year in Davis Cup ranks in British sporting achievement?
CAPTAIN SMITH: Has to be one of the best achievements of all time. I mean, it’s incredible for all of us to watch how he’s managed to win that many rubbers, that many wins, especially when you look back at the tie in France and also the Australia match, obviously a lot of fatigue, managed to find a way through.
It was absolutely incredible, amazing.
Q. Leon, other sports have been recognized for lesser achievements arguably than this one. When do you think it’s time for Britain to make its first British tennis knighthood and would the man to your left be a candidate?
JAMIE MURRAY: You’re up for that, aren’t you, Leon?
CAPTAIN SMITH: Me or him (smiling)?
Look, you’re asking the wrong guy because I hold Andy in the absolutely highest esteem. I can’t talk high enough about him. I could go on and on and talk for the next hour about him.
He’s just incredible. But he’ll be the first to say that this is a team effort, and rightly so. What he’s managed to do for this team is astonishing, to post that many wins in one year. He’s put his whole body, his whole mind on the line every single time for the team. Really it’s incredible. We’re all grateful and proud of him.
I know he’ll say it’s about the team, but we are really thankful for what he does.
Q. Was it a late night last night, Andy, or did you manage to stay up for the boxing?
ANDY MURRAY: I did watch the boxing last night, yeah. I was in bed probably by 11:00. But, yeah, I managed to find a stream of the boxing online and I watched it, yeah.
Q. Andy, how vital has Leon’s contribution been to the team over the last five years? Do you think he deserves a knighthood?
ANDY MURRAY: Look, I think everyone deserves one (laughter).
I mean, obviously since Leon has become captain, I think the results, you know, you don’t need to talk about it, you just look at the results and see where we’ve come from.
I remember speaking to Leon before he got the job. I was saying that now is a great time to have a young British team, British captain with young British coaches that love the game, that really want us to do well. It’s pretty much been the same team for the whole time. A few people have been added to as we’ve got further in the competition. But I think, you know, all of the staff have done genuinely an amazing job. The attention to detail is fantastic. Everyone has played a big part. And all of the other players, as well.
Leon is obviously responsible for bringing everybody together as a team and having everyone sort of, I don’t know, perform their roles as best they can. I think you’ve seen by the performances of like James in the match against the USA, even Kyle in the first match here, and all of the doubles rubbers this year. Even like before then, the match against Russia and stuff, which may not be talked about right now, but they’re very relevant, a match where James and Dan had big, big wins.
Yeah, Leon and his team are responsible for getting us to play at that level so consistently and deserve a lot of credit for that.
Q. Leon, five years ago the British team played in Group II of the European African Zone. Did it look like ‘Mission Impossible’ to get to this stage or not?
CAPTAIN SMITH: Obviously at that point there was a long way to go. But we set about, as Andy just very well described there, just getting a really good team of people around that really cared about everybody in the team and wanted what’s best for them. Even lower divisions, might not have been the most glamorous of ties, but it was very important to start winning.
You went match by match, tie by tie, and tried for the whole team to get better at what we do together. Momentum was built and it came to some important ties. I think like the Slovakia tie, the Russia tie, started to get a bit more belief about the players. Yeah, it continued from there.
Obviously when we started to move towards World Group territory, it’s important to have the highest quality. Andy, when he comes into that, brings us that quality that suddenly became a reality.
Q. Andy, what you and Leon have just said, can you describe your emotions on that winning point? It was the end of a very long, hard road for all of you.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, obviously it was a nice point to finish on. Yeah, you’re not thinking about loads. You can’t believe you’ve just won a major competition. That’s it basically. You know, you’re just thinking that, We just won. That was it. There’s no more to it than that.
It’s not like, you know, I’m thinking about the year as a whole. It’s literally just that moment there when you just hit the winning shot and won the match. Yeah, it’s nice that you get to see all of your team immediately afterwards, which isn’t always the case.
But, yeah, that was it. Nothing more than that.
Q. Andy, how much does the sense of doing it for the country change that emotion, the pressure, expectation, and the unique circumstances of this type of crowd?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, it obviously does change things. I think the rest of the year when you’re playing, you don’t get atmospheres like that in any event that we play during the year except during Davis Cup. That’s what happens when you get your country involved, people become more passionate. I think that’s the same for all of the players, as well.
That’s why the level of play I think is so high. I think Goffin played a good match today. I think it was a good match today. I can’t remember loads about it. But most of the players play at an extremely high level and I think it is because there is a bit more passion there when you’re competing for your country.
Q. You’re the first player in 20 years to win three live matches in a final. The last guy to do that was somebody as revered as Sampras. How did you feel out there? Was the adrenaline really flowing and keeping you going? Did you feel tired? What does it feel now to be in the same sentence as Pete Sampras?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, that’s obviously nice.
You know, like when I was out there, I mean, I was pumped the whole match, right from the beginning right through to the end. The crowd obviously helped with that. I didn’t really have any, I don’t think, lulls in my level. Maybe the game I got broken at the beginning of the third slightly.
But, yeah, I was just really, really pumped the whole match, really, really focused. Yeah, I just wanted to try and win that final point. Yeah, obviously to have won all of the singles matches I played this year is great. I’m glad I was able to help the team.
But, yeah, I knew a little bit about it because I’ve been asked. There’s only been I think two players that had won eight singles. I’d been asked about it. I didn’t know about that until coming into the tie. So to do that, you know, is obviously nice. It doesn’t happen too often. I’m proud of that, yeah.
Q. Andy, pretty notable weekend for British sport. What does it mean to you to be a big part of that? Did staying up and watching the boxing inspire you a bit?
ANDY MURRAY: I always get a bit nervous watching boxing, especially watching heavyweights. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing for me to do last night.
Yeah, I’m obviously happy to be part of a great weekend of sport. But, yeah, I didn’t need any inspiration this weekend. I didn’t need that from a boxer or anything else. I think that’s the case for all of the team. This competition, winning the event for all of us was enough.
Q. Andy, a question about the big four. You are the last member of the big four to win the Davis Cup. Is it a special feeling to win it after Nadal, Djokovic and Federer?
ANDY MURRAY: I haven’t thought about it like that. I think for all of the team it’s obviously great to have a Davis Cup next to our name. We’ll all remember this year for the rest of our lives, regardless of what happens in the rest of any of our careers. Nothing may ever top this now. Hopefully we can win it again next year or we can go on to win Grand Slams and Wimbledon or Olympics and stuff.
But, you know, this will definitely be the highlight, one of the highlights, of all of our careers. So we have to make sure we enjoy tonight and the next couple of days because I know how much hard work and effort goes into moments like this. You don’t want to let it pass by without enjoying it.
Q. Andy, the passion that you showed was very moving there. Was it passion for the team triumph or was it very much passion for the country?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I don’t know. I think it’s a combination of everything really. Always when I’ve played Davis Cup, since the first time, when I was 17, it was a completely different team to now, I was unbelievably passionate, and I loved it. When I played doubles against Israel, I loved that. That hasn’t changed.
But also I know this team extremely well. Because we’ve been together for such a long time, there’s a stronger bond probably between us than there has been in the past. And I think all of the players, you know, get on with each other, respect each other. Yeah, a lot of us are close friends.
It means a lot to do it with them.
Q. Jamie, where does this fit into your career now? What are your plans for celebrations with everyone?
JAMIE MURRAY: It’s huge for me. By far the biggest achievement in my career. I mean, I’ve had an amazing season. This is an unbelievable way to cap it off.
As for celebrations, I don’t know. I think we’re going to Nobu tomorrow night. That’s about it. That’s all I know.
Q. Andy, a question about the fab four stopped playing Davis Cup or they don’t play so often after they won it. Do you face it as a problem for Davis Cup, the format should be changed to have all the best players all the time? Are you going to play Davis Cup matches all the time, or sometimes yes and sometimes no?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t mind the format. I think the format’s good. I just think the timing sometimes is what is difficult. You know, obviously immediately after the slams is tough, which is after Wimbledon this year, and also after the US Open. Also now you’re the last ones to finish in the year.
For me it isn’t so much the format because if you look at the ties we played this year, I mean, the atmosphere in every one of them has been I think exceptional. If you change the format, you lose that a little bit.
But I think that the timing is really what’s the issue because the players, they put so much effort into the Grand Slams, the Davis Cup comes immediately after them, you’re pretty tired at the end of the slams. Most of the top players are going right through to the end of the majors. Slams are stressful, they’re draining, physically and mentally. I think that’s where the issue is a little bit.
Q. Wardy, what was it like backstage sort of not being able to walk it on court? Can you and Kyle put your personal highlights of this run, a five-year run?
JAMES WARD: Obviously I was waiting back in the locker room ready to play if needed. Thankful to Andy I wasn’t today.
Yeah, it’s always tough. You got to prepare like you’re going to play. You never know what could happen. Even when he was two sets up, I was still not wanting to go out in case he looked at me and snapped and thought, He thinks it’s over already. So, yeah, I left it till the last minute to come out.
Overall it’s been a long journey. I was there in the first tie with Leon in Eastbourne. Been pretty much present in every tie, which has been a great achievement for myself personally. But to be part of the team as well is an amazing feeling, something that is well-deserved for all of us.
Q. Kyle, not many people make their debuts in a tie which brings the Davis Cup home. How have the last couple of days been? Do you think this will give you a boost going into next season as well?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, it’s been a really good experience for me, something that I’ll learn from. I’m still obviously young. This type of experience on the world stage, it can’t get any better. It can only be a positive for me. For me personally, for my match, so much stuff I can take away from it, so many positives I’ve learnt from it.
Yeah, going into next season it just reinforces what I need to work on, what I’m doing well, and it sets me up well for the start of the season.
Q. Leon, what happens to you now? Are you going to stay on or negotiate a new contract for anything? What is your situation?
CAPTAIN SMITH: You should come with me to that meeting (smiling).
No, as Andy said, I think it’s really important to enjoy this moment right now. It is a very, very special moment for all of us. Yeah, we’ll just soak up the next couple of days as a team together, really enjoy it, then we’ll see what happens after that.
But it’s really not important. Just now what’s important is what’s been achieved. It’s monumental. I’m so proud of every single player and the staff that’s played a part. I really want to enjoy it and then we’ll figure it out after that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #168 at 2015-11-29 17:49:00 GMT
EXCLUSIVE Interview With US Davis Cup Captain Mardy Fish: “If Davis Cup Fails, We All Fail”
Mardy Fish takes the reins of the US Davis Cup team and feels very strongly about the new format for the competition: “If you love Davis Cup you have to support it, even with this format”
After Jim Courier’s resignation from the role of US Davis Cup Captain last September after the defeat in the 2018 semifinal against Croatia, the USTA decided to take their time and make some changes to the duties required by the role. Following Courier’s suggestion that “the new captain should be someone closer in age to the players”, the United States Tennis Association decided to trust former world no.7 Mardy Fish with this important responsibility, also making him a key figure in the Player Development Program, expanding the role of captain into a year-round presence at tournaments around the world to provide a bigger support to players.
While we were covering the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Mardy found the time to talk to Ubitennis over the phone from his house in California and provided some insight into this new adventure for him.
What can you tell us about your first few months in your new role?
It’s been a fun few months, adjusting from the role of peer to the other players to that of captain. I have found a lot of respect towards me from the other players and this is obviously a great thing. I have always been a huge fan of Davis Cup, I have always said yes whenever I had the opportunity to play it, and it’s an honor to be in this role.
You retired a few years ago from professional tennis: how do you feel about getting back on the road now that your life is structured in a different way?
My life at home has been quite established, with my wife and my two kids, but I have been doing a bit of personal traveling for some exhibitions and for golfing. This role will not require a lot of traveling, I will just do what I need to create some camaraderie in the team: I have spent a few days in Indian Wells, from Tuesday to Saturday, I will be a few days in Miami, then I won’t be around much for the European season and I will travel again to tournaments in the summer. I just need the players to know that they have my support and the support of the USTA if it’s needed.
What do you think about the new formula for the Davis Cup?
I think it’s too early to tell right now, we will find out how it goes. On paper the formula sounds awesome, the time was right for a change, although I’m not sure if it was necessary to make it as drastic as this. I know there are some people that feel very strongly against this new formula, but this means that people are passionate about Davis Cup, they really care about it.
The date in the calendar for the Finals is quite tough though. But at the end of the day, if it’s Davis Cup the majority of players will find a way to participate and I’m convinced we will get an excellent field.
As far as the US Team is concerned, I don’t foresee any availability issue from our players, especially the younger ones: they are very excited about playing for the USA, the National Team is in a lot of conversations among our players. I can’s speak for other countries, I know some of them have pledged not to play with the new format, but what we need to remember is that we are all responsible for Davis Cup: if Davis Cup fails, we all fail, we are all together on the same boat. For example, the Australian players are all very passionate about Davis Cup, they love it, and that is fantastic. But if they don’t support it, it’s not going to work.
With the new formula, a team getting to the final will need to play six ties in seven days: how important do you think it will be to have a ‘long bench’?
I think it will be important to bring players who play only singles and other players who play only doubles. I believe that teams that only have one or two players, as it could be for Russia, and relying on them to play both singles and doubles could get into a bit of a situation should they get to the business end of the competition, because their players may get there quite tired. We are lucky in that sense because we can have someone like Jack Sock who could play doubles leaving the singles guys free to worry about the singles.
Tennis politics have recently made the headlines with Chris Kermode not being renewed as the ATP CEO. What is your take on this?
I have spoken to some of the guys who are in the Players’ Council and once again I need to stress that they do what they do because they act with passion. They are passionate about tennis, they act out of love for the game even if their ranking is not high. I know Kermode personally from when he was the Tournament Directors at the Queen’s Tournament and everything was perfect for me; I don’t have direct experience with him at the helm of the ATP, I had already retired when he took the reins of the organization.
A few weeks ago the ITF decided the composition of the Round Robin phase of the Davis Cup Final and the US team will be in the same group as Italy and Canada. Can you tell us about these teams?
Well, Canada has the right mix of experience and youth: Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime are going to be there for a long time, and Milos [Raonic] will be able to give them all the support they need. Similarly, Italy has an established core of players such as Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi that will be supplemented by Marco Cecchinato, whom I know him anyway because he is was my opponent in my last match ever at the US Open.
I am very confident about our chances in this group: we have three top 60 players who are still 21 years old or younger, who are Tiafoe, Fritz and Opelka. Tiafoe has just reached the Quarterfinals of the Australian Open, and that’s not a result that you can improvise, you need to beat good players to get there. They will be the core of our team for the years to come, and they will be helped by more established veterans like John [Isner] or Sam [Querrey].
BNP Paribas Ends Their 17 Year Sponsorship With Davis Cup
BNP Paribas will no longer sponsor the Davis Cup after 17 years.
BNP Paribas have ended their 17 year title sponsorship with the Davis Cup as they rebrand to the world cup of tennis.
The move was announced in a press release as BNP Paribas look to focus on sponsoring the Fed Cup as well as the junior and wheelchair events.
It is clear that the move has been finalised due to the Davis Cup’s new 18 team format which will be tested in November this year in Madrid.
Although there has been criticism of the new event this is the first time a sponsorship has been dropped from the Davis Cup and the banking company’s intent.
Head of communications, Bertrand Cizeau, explained his decision, “We decided with the ITF to conclude the ‘Davis Cup by BNP Paribas’ partnership as the competition format evolves,” Cizeau explained.
“During 17 years, we have been happy alongside fans, players and local audiences, all around the world, and to have fuelled their passion during unforgettable matches.”
The move is certainly stunning to the ITF but their president David Haggerty did thank BNP Paribas for their contribution, “BNP Paribas has made a vast contribution to the success of the Davis Cup as a title sponsor over the past 17 years,” Haggerty said.
“We are proud of the great work we have achieved together for Davis Cup, and we look forward to continuing our relationship across a number of properties from the grassroots to the top of the game.”
The dedicated partner will continue to work with the ITF with a variety of schemes and projects including developing the Junior and Wheelchair events.
However with talk of a 12 team Fed Cup event similar to the Davis Cup one, would BNP Paribas stop its partnership with the Fed Cup and how would that impact the ITF?
As for David Haggerty he will now aim to rebrand the competition into the ‘Davis Cup, World Cup Of Tennis,’ as many see this as a significant change in the history of the competition that has now gone on for 118 years.
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.
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