Triumph for GB
Davis Cup triumph makes Murray ‘Scotland’s greatest’
Andy Murray made history by winning a pulsating singles tie to lift the Davis Cup for Great Britain for the first time in 79 years.
The Scot – and world number two – beat Belgian number one and world number 16 David Goffin in three sets to secure victory with one match remaining.
He also made sure of his own place in the sporting history books, not only laying the ghosts of past British failures, but by adding the trophy to his Olympic Gold medal and two Grand Slam wins that some now say places him as Scotland’s greatest ever sportsman. Only six-times Olympic gold medal track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy stands comparison with Andy Murray’s achievements.
Murray, 28, claimed this was the most emotional of his victories on the court and was all the more remarkable for being played on one of his least favourite surfaces.
Although the Davis Cup is a team game, few would argue that the former Wimbledon champion was the key to lifting the cup which Britain last won in 1936.
The Scot put Britain at the top of world tennis just a few years after it was left struggling the third tier of the game and he will now target the Australian and French Open tournaments in a bid for a rate clean sweep of the game’s top prizes.
It will also be a huge boost for the sponsors, including Edinburgh based financial services company Aegon UK which controversially backed British tennis at a time when Murray was still to win a major trophy.
Yesterday’s match, which at one point was in doubt because of the terror alert in Belgium, was played before a packed Flanders Expo in Ghent. The result – 6-3 7-5 6-3 – gave GB an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five tie.
It was also a triumph for captain Leon Smith who in five years has guided Britain from a Europa/Africa Group II relegation play-off against Turkey to glory.
Andy Murray, who was carried aloft by his team mates, said this ranked among his proudest moments.
“I just can’t believe we did it,” said Murray, he said after an energy-sapping 2hrs and 54 mins. “I play some of my best tennis when I’m playing for my country.
“We have to enjoy this because we may never get the opportunity again.
“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.”
Captain Smith said: “It is amazing, as good a feeling as I could imagine. Andy has shown himself to be an absolute superstar.
“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.”
Jamie Baker, the former British tennis player and now part of the BBC sports commentary team said that, as a Scot this provided huge compensation for Scotland failing to quality for the football Euro 2016 tournament and being knocked out of the rugby world cup at the quarter final stage. “This is tennis’s world cup,” he said.
On Saturday, Andy and Jamie Murray beat Goffin and Steve Darcis 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the doubles to take the tie into to a 2-1 lead for GB.
Prime Minister David Cameron led the congratulations on social media. His Twitter account said: “Congratulations to the GB Tennis Team for winning the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote: “Congratulations to Leon Smith & team GB on an incredible @DavisCup victory – & especially to the amazing Murray bros. What an achievement.
Celtic Football club said: “Congratulations to @ British Tennis team a& @DavisCup captain Leon Smith on winning the Davis Cup.
Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management said: “Fantastic!!! Congrats A great achievement!”
Novak Djokovic, world number one tennis player, said: Congrats #TeamGB on Davis Cup win! @andy_murray Seeing your reaction after winning made me relive again how it was for us in 2010. Well done, u deserve it.
Olympic long jumper Greg Rutherford wrote: “I think we have team of the year sorted for #SPOTY. Amazing work from everyone involved with GB tennis. A HUGE well done.”
Best ever Scots
Sir Jackie Stewart, racing driver
Nicknamed the “Flying Scot”, he competed in Formula One between 1965 and 1973, winning three World Drivers’ Championships, and was twice runner-up. In 2009 he was ranked fifth of the fifty greatest Formula One drivers of all time.
Sir Chris Hoy, cyclist
Britain’s most successful Olympic athlete of all time, with six gold medals and one silver. Chris won his first Olympic gold medal in Athens 2004 and following his historic hat-trick of gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, he was voted 2008 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He was also awarded a Knighthood in the 2009 New Year Honours list, capping an extraordinary year for the track cyclist from Edinburgh.
Andy Murray, tennis player
Currently ranked number 2 in the world, he is the British No.1, 2012 US Open Champion, 2013 Wimbledon Champion and reigning Olympic Singles Champion. It began with victory an under-10 junior at the Dunblane Sports Club. He won his first ATP title, the SAP open in San Jose, in 2006. After losing three grand slam final appearances, he became the US Open Champion in 2012, the same year he won gold at the London Olympics. A year later he became the first British male in 77 years to win the Wimbledon Championships. Currently on 35 career titles, he is Great Britain’s most successful tennis player of the Open era, the first Briton to reach 500 ATP match wins.