A day after Tyson Fury ended the decade-long reign of 39-year-old Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko with a deserved victory in world heavyweight bout in Germany, Andy Murray showed the same nerve and virtuosity in his role as a one-man force and brought the coveted Davis Cup to Great Britain with a 3-1 victory over Belgium. For Great Britain, therefore, November 2015 ended with a double delight. Around this time last year, the British Davis Cup team was miles away, when the great Roger Federer had been similarly instrumental in bringing the 2014 championship to Switzerland. Along with compatriot Stan Wawrinka, Federer had played a stellar role in Swiss team’s first-ever Davis Cup victory, when they played against France at Lille. Likewise, in 2010, it was Novak Djokovic, who had also played a crucial role in Serbia’s maiden Davis Cup victory over France. For Great Britain, however, it was the 10th victory in the 115-year old tournament with the last having come 79 years ago in 1936.
November 27, 2015 was the first day of the Davis Cup tie and Belgium had taken a 1-0 lead, when world no.16 David Goffin defeated GBR’s world no.99 Kyle Edmund in a five-set duel. Edmund began well and exerted huge pressure on Goffin by taking the first two sets before the Belgian engineered a turnaround with a late but decisive rearguard action. After Goffin took the match 3-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-0, Andy Murray squared the first day’s score to 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Ruben Bemelmans. The second day of the Davis Cup final was the crunch doubles game, in which Andy Murray and his brother Jamie played against the Belgian duo of Steve Darcis and David Goffin. The brothers combined superbly and ensured a 2-1 lead for GBR with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
On November 29, Great Britain needed to win just one of the two reverse singles matches to lay their hands on the 2015 Davis Cup championship. The first singles featured two equally matched ATP competitors as world no.2 Andy Murray took on David Goffin. Other than the competent Goffin, who played on the surface of his choice (Red Clay), Murray had to also deal with a raucous crowd of nearly 13000 people at the Flanders Expo center in Ghent. The Scot, however, was unruffled as he clinched the first set 6-3 despite Goffin trying to put a stiff resistance. The second set went on for long as Goffin put his best efforts. But Murray needed just one break of serve and in doing so; he took the second set as well. In the end, Andy Murray overcame a combined challenge of Goffin, noisy whistles, huge shouts, persistent camera flashes and the weight of history to eke out the much deserved 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 victory. Goffin fought hard for 2 hours 54 minutes but could not stop Murray from leading Great Britain to their first Davis Cup victory since 1936. The winning shot from Murray was a brilliant lob over Goffin’s head, after which the Briton fell back on the court, even as his teammates rushed to the court in delight to mob him. With GBR coasting to a 3-1 unassailable victory, there was no need for the teams to play the second reverse singles between Kyle Edmund and Ruben Bemelmans.
Over the years, Andy Murray has transformed himself into a living sports’ icon that the British public worships along with other currently active sports persons like Tyson Fury, Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Lewis Hamilton. As for tennis, Murray has rekindled a new enthusiasm in youngsters, wanting to take tennis as a professional career. The two-time Grand Slam winner has become the third Open era player in tennis history to win Wimbledon, Davis Cup and the Olympic Gold Medal. The other two are Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi. Also, Andy and Jamie Murray have acquired the distinction of being only the second pair of brothers after America’s Bob and Mike Bryan to win the Davis Cup since 1972. Incidentally, another pair of British brothers, David and John Lloyd missed out on the feat by losing in the 1978 final to the United States.
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