PARIS: Bernard Tomic backed Andy Murray to steer Great Britain to a first Davis Cup crown in 79 years after the world number three defied a back injury to inspire his country to a semi-final win over Australia. Britain, who won the last of their nine Davis Cup titles in 1936, made their first final since 1978 with victory over Australia in Glasgow thanks to Murray’s 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 win over Tomic in Sunday’s first reverse singles. They now go to Belgium for the November 27-29 final.
Belgium reached their first title match in 111 years with a tense 3-2 win over Argentina in Brussels with Steve Darcis, the world number 64, needing a fourth match point to defeat Federico Delbonis 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3). Australia’s Tomic believes Murray will go on to inspire Britain to the trophy. “I think whoever won the doubles was the (Davis Cup) winner,” said Tomic, reflecting on Saturday’s doubles rubber win by Andy Murray and brother Jamie over Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth which gave the home side a 2-1 lead in the tie. “You are not just playing against Andy Murray here, it feels like you are playing against the whole of Britain. His motivation, his presence changes every point. He’s an amazing player.” Australia captain Wally Masur added: “Andy was like a locomotive all weekend.”
Murray, 28, played all three days in Glasgow despite feeling the effects of a back injury although he calmed fears that the issue was connected to the same problem which required surgery in 2013. “I wasn’t concerned about how much I had left in the tank, I was more concerned about my back. My back has been giving me a lot of trouble this week,” he said. “It was fine during the US Open, then I took five days off, started practising again on Sunday I practised Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and felt fine and then on Tuesday night my back was extremely sore and got progressively worse the next couple of days. “Sometimes after you have played a lot of tennis, when you take a break the muscles stiffen up and when you come back you can have some issues.”
Murray celebrated his 25th win from 27 Davis Cup singles matches as Britain secured a first victory over old rivals Australia since 1978. When Britain last won the Davis Cup in 1936, Fred Perry and Bunny Austin sealed a 3-2 victory over Australia at Wimbledon. It is a remarkable turnaround for a British team that have risen from being on the verge of relegation to Europe/Africa Group III in 2010. In Brussels, world number 15 David Goffin kept Belgium afloat against Argentina with a routine 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over Diego Schwartzman to level their semi-final at 2-2. Darcis, 31, then sealed victory for a Belgian side which had knocked out defending champions Switzerland in the first round. “It’s one of the biggest moments of my career.
The atmosphere was unbelievable. Inside it was so hard to stay calm,” said Darcis who famously dumped Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon in 2013. In the play-offs, where the winners will feature in the elite World Group in 2016, Roger Federer defeated Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-2, 6- 4 as Switzerland wrapped up victory over the Netherlands in Geneva. But Federer, 34, who led Switzerland to a first Davis Cup title in 2014, then hinted that he was rethinking his future in the tournament after a 16-year career. “My idea was never to win it twice, the idea was always to win it once,” the world number two and 17-time major winner told www.daviscup. com. “I see this tie in isolation. Next year is an Olympic year. The summer will be very long and packed with highlights. It’s all a question of priorities. I can’t play everything and of course if I do play Davis Cup other things have to drop out.” — AFP