Leon Smith has hailed Jamie Murray’s contribution to Great Britain’s Davis Cup run ahead of the final against Belgium. The doubles specialist had not played for Britain for almost four years when he was selected for March’s first-round match against the USA.
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Murray showed his improved form as he and Dominic Inglot almost pulled off a stunning comeback against Bob and Mike Bryan, but it is with brother Andy that he has really shone.
A week after reaching the Wimbledon final with Australian partner John Peers, Jamie was the standout player as he and Andy defeated the French at Queen’s Club.
And on home soil in Glasgow in September, just after Jamie and Peers had made the final of the US Open, the Murray brothers won in five pulsating sets against Australians Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth.
British captain Smith said of Jamie’s form: “It’s absolutely fantastic. The doubles rubber is always key and we’ve always been spolit for choice, but in Jamie we have one of the best players in the world now, and that makes a big difference.
“When you look back to the tie against France, he played unbelievable tennis. It was like a man on fire. And he’s kept that going. This means an awful lot to both brothers, not just Andy.”
Meanwhile, the Belgian team are hoping to bring some joy to their troubled country by becoming one of the most unlikely champions in the competition’s history.
Congrats @jamie_murray and @johnwpeers on a great year of tennis. Best of luck to both of you in your futures with your new partners
— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) November 19, 2015
Britain have won the title nine times and been in the final as comparatively recently as 1978, Belgium are back within reach of the trophy for the first time in 111 years. Now they host Britain in what should be a joyous occasion but a shadow of terror hangs over the tie following the attacks in Paris and subsequent security warnings in Brussels.
Belgium captain Johan Van Herck said: “I never thought it would not happen. I think it’s very important (it goes ahead). Not only just for the security, I think it’s important for us as a team.
“I think it’s one of the main goals we had with this team, to have a good attitude, to put the crowd behind us.”