BARRY NEWCOMBE has been covering Wimbledon, and tennis, for more than 50 years. So it’s no surprise that he’s backing Great Britain’s Davis Cup efforts for the SJA’s Team of the Year prize
Andy Murray has steered Great Britain to the final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1978, though not quite single-handedly because he has had the support of his brother Jamie en route to the final showdown, in Belgium next month.
The commitment of the Murray brothers to the cause is all too obvious. I think it became clearer and ever more challenging on the route to the final which included beating France at Queen’s Club and then seeing off the Australia in the semi-finals in Glasgow.
I was first introduced to Andy Murray when he played his first French championships in Paris. He has set the world alight ever since, none more so than when he won the London Olympics gold in 2012 and captured the Wimbledon title the following year.
He could have been forgiven for easing up a fraction thereafter – but Andy is still pitching in there, leading a team effort in a highly individual sport, and leading it almost to perfection.
In terms of watching British teams compete in the Davis Cup, I started back at Golders Green in 1965 and have seen their successors in many settings around the world, struggling to beat Denmark in Copenhagen, having lengthy battles with the late Istvan Gulyas in Hungary, with the Romanians at Wimbledon, and so on. There is nothing easy about Davis Cup tennis.
Now, in 2015, comes a final appearance against Belgium and Andy Murray is being asked to play in that after competing in the end-of-year eight-man spectacular at the 02 Arena in London.
Then, in Ghent – one of the few places in the tennis world where Murray has not played before – comes the Davis Cup final. And Andy knows that his doubles appearance with his brother, Jamie, may well hold the key to the entire outcome.
After Olympic Games and Wimbledon titles, is Andy Murray ready to pull off one of the great titles of international sport? I believe he is.
- Barry Newcombe is a former chairman of the SJA
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