If someone was looking for a recipe for a successful Davis Cup team they would be smart to check out Great Britain’s Davis Cup story this weekend.
The British players from reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray to 175th-ranked James Ward and doubles duo Colin Fleming Dominic Inglot, and captain Leon Smith were a bonded band of tennis troubadours working together for the cause.
“This group of players get on great,” said Smith, after the British secured a 3-1 win over the USA this weekend at Petco Park in San Diego. “Andy has mentioned a few times they’ve known each other for an awful long time, since about 10-or-11 years old, so that helps.”
As for Murray, who won two singles matches for the team, and clinched the tie on Sunday with a 76(5) 67(3) 61 63 win over Sam Querrey in the fourth rubber, the weekend has combined hard work, a competitive nature and a good time.
“I mean the thing is it’s been fun,” Murray said. “I think everyone enjoys the position they’re in. That very important. There’s a lot of sort of motivation there, and great attitude among everyone that’s part to the team.”
The British will need to keep that team spirit going now that they’ve reached their first Davis Cup World Group quarterfinal since 1986. It was so long ago that Andy Murray was still a year away from being born.
Now the opportunity to continue on places Great Britain on the road again, heading to Italy for the April quarterfinals.
“Obviously, the whole team is delighted, not because we beat the US team, but just because of where we’re at right now. Seems a little bit surreal.” Smith said. “It’s funny to think that Andy wasn’t even born the last time we won a World Group (tie) and here he is stealing it for us.
The odds this weekend were always against Team USA once they fell behind 0-2 on Friday. USA had only ever come back from a 0-2 deficit once in 39 ties.
While the odds improved somewhat for USA when the Bryans nailed down the doubles point on Saturday, they certainly didn’t have a great history of coming back from 1-2 behind either. The USA was successful on five occasions in winning a tie from 1-2 down.
While Great Britain moves on in the hunt for the 2014 Davis Cup trophy, the USA is relegated to fighting for a continued spot in the World Group for the 2015 competition.
Team USA, who has enjoyed World Group status every year since 1989, will have to play in September’s World Group play-off to stay in the hunt for the Davis Cup crown in 2015.
But they’re certainly not alone — five other nations ranked in the Top 10 Davis Cup nations — Spain, Serbia, Australia, Argentina, and Canada — will also have to earn their World Group position for 2015 in the play-off competition in September.
“We’re disappointed,” US captain Jim Courier said. “We don’t like to see our season end in February, but it is what it is. We’ll put it behind us. Hopefully the guys will put together a good season on the ATP circuit and build towards our qualifying match in September and we’ll keep or place in the World Group and get a shot at the title again next year.”