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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Andy Murray helps UK win Davis Cup after 79 years !!

Kyle Edmund became the first player to make his Davis Cup by BNP Paribas debut in a Final since 2003 after being given the nod by Great Britain captain Leon Smith to take to the court on the opening day against Belgium.  12 years ago, Spain’s Feliciano Lopez experienced his first taste of Davis Cup in the final. 

India competed its first Davis Cup in 1921 but has not won yet.  We finished  as runners-up 3 times (1966, 1974, 1987). In 1974, the final was scratched and South Africa were awarded the Davis Cup after India refused to participate in the final due to the South African government's apartheid policies. India were strong favorites to win with Vijay Amritraj and Anand Amritraj at their best.  Remember in 1987, India again reached the finals but this time it was a very strong Sweden line up as they played at the Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Mats Wilander beat Ramesh Krishnan; Andres Jarryd beat Vijay Amritraj; Joakim Nystrom/Wilander beat Anand & Vijay Amritraj; Andres Jarryd beat Ramesh Krishnan and Wilander beat Vijay.    

Davis Cup began in 1900 as a competition between USA and Great Britain and went on to become the world’s largest annual international team competition in sport, with 126 nations taking part in 2015.  In the inaugural version USA played the British Isles. It was held at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston and the Americans surprised their opponents by racing into an unassailable 3-0 lead.  Once the two respective national associations had agreed, one of the four players, Dwight Davis, designed a tournament format and ordered a trophy, buying it with his own money. The tournament was originally known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, later became known as Davis Cup after Dwight Davis’s trophy.

In 2000, Spain won its first Davis Cup title before going on to claim four more victories and establish itself as the competition’s dominant force of recent times. During the last decade, Russia, Croatia, and Serbia also lifted the trophy for the first time, with the latter two being the only unseeded nations to win the title.  In the 100th  Final in 2012, Czech Republic overcame Spain 3-2 in a dramatic contest. BNP Paribas took over NEC as the competition’s Title Sponsor in 2002, a partnership that still flourishes today.

The news now is Andy Murray has given Britain its first Davis Cup title in 79 years after beating Belgium's David Goffin. The British number one had his pregnant wife Kim and mother Judy cheering him on as he sailed past his opponent 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in Gent. The win gave Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead in the best-of-five series and the final singles match was not played.

Murray was forced to play some of his best tennis against an opponent who refused to buckle, but he would not be denied. He wobbled briefly when he dropped serve early in the third set but the world number two responded to move 5-3 ahead. He finished the job in spectacular fashion, hoisting a lob over the stranded Goffin before collapsing on to the court. Murray was immediately swamped by his team mates, captain Leon Smith and the support staff and was hoisted shoulder high on the court before saluting the dancing British fans.

Britain is the only nation to have competed in all Davis Cup editions since 1900 and its 10th title makes it the third most successful nation after the United States (32) and Australia (28). But it was a long way coming. Britain last won it in 1936 with Fred Perry as its star and last played in the final in 1978.

In July 1983, Lendl played three exhibition matches (against Johan Kriek, Kevin Curren, Jimmy Connors) in Sun City, in the apartheid-era. The Czechoslovak Sport Federation (ČSTV), controlled by the Communist Party, expelled him from the Czechoslovak Davis Cup team and fined him $150,000.  Lendl disagreed with the punishment and fine. In  addition, the publication of his name and results in the Czechoslovak media was prohibited. The ban was extended not only to Lendl, but to anything about world tennis.  This  resulted in his decision to apply for a green card in 1987 and later on for U.S. citizenship.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

29th Nov. 2015.

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