Well. We only went and won the Davis Cup.
Just to put this in perspective, six years ago Great Britain were in danger of being relegated to the very bottom group of the annual tennis world championship, after a humiliating defeat in Lithuania (and yes, it really was humiliating – I was one of the British fans who put their heads down and scurried out of the arena while the home fans celebrated).
But hey, things could only get better. And they have – ever since Leon Smith took over as captain, we’ve been steadily working our way back through the groups, largely because he seems to know exactly what to say and do to get the best out of his players. We were unlucky to miss out last year, after defeat in Italy (I was at that one too; I’m pretty sure I’m a jinx at away ties) and this year, we beat the USA, France and Australia on our way to reaching the final for the first time since 1978.
Obviously, a lot of our success is down to Andy Murray, who’s won all 11 of his Davis Cup matches this year, including three this weekend. But it’s a team event, and every member of the British team has played their part – James Ward, who shocked everyone by beating John Isner earlier this year; Jamie Murray, a staple of our doubles team alongside his brother; Kyle Edmund, who made his Davis Cup debut on Friday and came so close to beating David Goffin, a player ranked way above him. And though they weren’t members of the team this weekend (we’re only allowed to name four players for each tie), we mustn’t forget Dom Inglot, who played in the doubles against the USA, and Dan Evans, who was part of the team that beat Australia in the semis.
This weekend, we went in as favourites – not surprising since we had the world number 2 in our team – but it wasn’t all plain sailing. The Belgians put up a great fight and gave us a few tense moments, particularly during yesterday’s doubles match. Unfortunately (or perhaps luckily given my record at away ties), I couldn’t go to Ghent, but I watched it all on TV, getting closer and closer to the edge of my seat and cheering like a crazy person when Andy won today’s match against Goffin to seal the tie.
Although I couldn’t be there this weekend, I’ve been to a lot of Davis Cup ties over the years, and there’s always an incredible atmosphere. Though it can often be tense, and occasionally depressing, at the end of the day, everyone’s there for one reason, to support their country. And there’s something pretty special about being part of such a united group, whether there’s just a handful of people, like in Lithuania, or it’s a home tie where the Brits form the majority.
It’s also an excuse to go a bit mad, make a lot of noise and jump up and down like an idiot, often whilst wearing ridiculous clothes. I’m a pretty quiet person, but have no problem screaming my head off at a Davis Cup tie – so make of that what you will.
In case you missed it, here’s the moment Great Britain became Davis Cup champions for the first time since 1936. I was hoping for a court invasion if Andy won, and I wasn’t disappointed. Also, how adorable are his grandparents?!
Congratulations Team GB, it was a long road but we made it 🙂 Let’s do it all again next year…