Tennis fanatic Henry Hill has a swing at GB’s Davies Cup achievement and the polarizing Andy Murray
It is fair to say, last weekend was pretty mental for British sport. Allow me to recap. Jamie Vardy sweated the final drops of WKD from his system to set a goal-scoring record, Tyson Fury serenaded his way to a surprising heavyweight boxing title, and Andy Murray, sorry, Team GB made history in beating Belgium to win the Davis Cup. And it is this historic event I choose to focus on, as I may never get a chance in my lifetime to do it again.
I am a sports fanatic. But at the tip of my sporting iceberg lies my beloved tennis. For reasons which neither my parents seem capable of explaining, from a young age I took to fury balls and rackets, and have never looked back. This weekend, then, was one I have been waiting for with great anticipation for weeks. Indeed, Britain as a nation has been waiting for victory in this competition for 79 years. When you factor in that it takes place every year, then it makes this achievement more astounding.
As a nation, finals are not exactly our forte – unless they’re on a bike or in a rowing boat. But these niche indulgences don’t quite capture the hearts of a nation, although Bradley Wiggins’ side burns are a timeless spectacle to behold. For our individual rugby teams, England’s triumph at 2003 World Cup seems like a distant memory, whilst the football team’s performances are an enduring test of trial and error. Yet out of this tumultuous haze of failure rises Andy Murray.
Murray is a Scotsman well and truly in full flight right now. His season has finished with him ranked number two in the world, and he has propelled Great Britain to World Championship glory. Not bad for an individual sport. Yet he is a character people choose to dislike. Even I, a devout follower of Murray-mania, struggle to defend his monotone approach to the outside world. His wins at the US Open and Wimbledon, and of course the 2012 Olympics have only proven to be moments of solace in the eyes of a demanding public.
But this Davis Cup win could be the turning point. Much can be said for the fantastic effort by the GB Team and unifying captain Leon Smith, but ultimately they would be doomed from the outset was it not for Murray. Breathtaking wins over the USA, France and Australia in both the singles and doubles culminated in an excellent weekend of resilience, heart, and dedication, as Murray and Britain overcome a rowdy Belgian crowd to reclaim the Davis Cup crown.
The best of 5 matches format was very simple. Two singles, a doubles, then two more singles if necessary. 20 year old Kyle Edmund played a stunning 2 sets before losing to world number 16 and Belgian pin up David Goffin in the opening rubber. Murray then dispatched of some Belgian nobody to make it 1-1 before teaming up with brother Jamie for the highly anticipated doubles. It was tricky business, but Britain prevailed in 4 sets, meaning Murray’s showdown with Goffin on Saturday afternoon could decide it. Murray can be more frustrating than a busy day on Oxford Street at times, but showed the determination, class, and focus of a man possessed on his way to the title in straight sets. The match point backhand lob was a stunning conclusion, followed by an outpouring of emotion and joy from all involved.
Fred Perry, the last man British superstar to win the Davis Cup, is remembered by some primarily for his fashion range, rather than his landmark sporting achievements. One only hopes Murray is remembered for the right reason, his incredible athletic pedigree. Never forget what he has achieved on the court. He may be a bit of a grump, but he is a legendary one at that.
Featured image: Wikimedia commons