As regular readers will know, I’m a big tennis fan, and have been supporting Team GB in the Davis Cup for a few years now. This is a journey that’s had its up and downs; there was the humiliating defeat in Lithuania that we don’t talk about – but then there was also the amazing comeback against Russia. We lost in the quarter-finals last year against Italy, but have beaten the USA two years in a row, mostly thanks to the heroic efforts of James Ward, who always seems to play above his ranking for Team GB.
This weekend, we were taking on France for a place in the semi-final, at the Queens Club in west London. Unfortunately, we were only allowed tickets for one of the three days, so my mum and I chose to go today, keeping our fingers crossed that the tie wouldn’t be decided by then. And we were in luck; after two singles matches and a doubles, we had a 2-1 lead, and everything to play for heading into the final day.
First up was Andy Murray, who got off to a shaky start against Gilles Simon. For over an hour, it looked like we were going to need to call on James Ward for another miraculous win. But then, somehow, Andy turned it around (I still have no idea how) and suddenly we were winning. The British fans got louder as the French resistance crumbled – and before we knew what was happening, we were in the semi-final.
To put this in perspective: the last time Britain made it into a Davis Cup semi-final was in 1981. Which was before I was born. This is literally the first time in my life that this has happened. And as exhausting and nerve-wracking as today was, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. The Davis Cup atmosphere is pretty special – everyone’s cheering for their team, and it gets very competitive, but it’s always really good-natured. As we were leaving, we encountered a group of British and French fans cheerfully taking group photos together and singing each other’s national anthems; it was good to know that we were parting on good terms.
Now for the next challenge – taking on Australia at the semi-final in September. Bring it on, Aussies. Bring it on 😉