It was the turn of the Union Jacks to dominate the day’s play after being on the receiving end for the past three days as they claimed seven of the nine matches to narrow the gap in the race for the Best of the Brits Team event title being competed for at the NTC in Roehampton.
I have maybe enjoyed this event more than the previous one (the men only singles Best of the Brits championship). It was good because the matches were competitive, but this one maybe is just a bit more fun Andy Murray
Having trailed by 17 points at the start of Day 4, they reduced the British Bulldogs lead dramatically and now only trail 31-25 in what is proving to be a very competitive event despite a lack of spectators.
So much so, Andy Murray would like to see a similar event on the main tour, especially as the Hopman Cup, a mixed team event held in Australia at the start of each year, has been scrapped to make way for the ATP Cup.
While the Hopman Cup consisted of just two mixed team members, the British version pitches two 13-strong mixed teams contesting a variety of disciplines over the week-long tournament with the first to reach 60 points named the winners.
“I would rather play with eight to 10 players heckling me from the side than playing in silence,” said Murray.
“You want an environment where everyone is extremely competitive and there is a bit of atmosphere.”
“I have maybe enjoyed this event more than the previous one (the men only singles Best of the Brits championship). It was good because the matches were competitive, but this one maybe is just a bit more fun,” he added.
“I think sports miss a bit of a trick with this stuff.
“The Hopman Cup, for example, was a brilliant event in my opinion.
“I played there a bunch of times and I loved it. It was a great event. Putting match-ups in tennis like Serena Williams and Roger Federer on the same court, it is so brilliant for our sport.”
On Thursday the three-time grand slam winner, who is only competing in the doubles matches, produced his first points for the team. Playing in partnership with Lloyd Glasspool, the pair beat Dom Inglot & Alastair Gray 6-4 6-4 to post two points for the Jacks.
“I was happy, played well, returns were good, served pretty well. It was a good performance from both of us,” said a satisfied Murray.
Earlier in the day Heather Watson had helped set the ball rolling for the Jacks by defeating the 17-year-old rising star Emma Radacanu 6-2 6-4 for her third singles match victory of the week, having watched Jodie Burrage come back from what looked like a defeat in the opening clash of the day. The 21-year-old, who stunned Jo Konta on Day 1, recovered to post a satisfying 5-7 6-4 10-7 win over Harriet Dart.
Between them the pair clocked up four points to launch the Union Jacks’ fightback to wards the 60 point winning target.
“I have been saying after each of my previous matches that I have been getting better and better after each match,” said Watson.
“It was a big jump. I definitely played some really good tennis.
“This is my first week of playing matches since the pandemic began; it is getting that match practice in and getting used to the stress of playing a match again. I am dealing with it better and I am feeling better.”
Watson later joined Jamie Murray for the mixed doubles to bring the days play to an end, defeating Joe Salisbury & Emma Raducanu 6-4 6-4, and with the three points earned, cut the gap to 31-25.
Prior to that Jan Choinski and Anton Matusevich contributed one point each in what proved a very good day for the Union Jacks.
The two matches won by the British Bulldogs came courtesy of Kyle Edmund who rallied from a set down to beat Ryan Peniston and earn only the Bulldogs’ second point of the day, following Maia Lumsden’s earlier win over Naomi Broady.
Jodie Burrage (UJ) bt Harriet Dart (BB) 5-7 6-4 10-6
Heather Watson (UJ) bt Emma Raducanu (BB) 6-2 6-4
Andy Murray/Lloyd Glasspool (UJ) bt Dom Inglot/Alastair Gray (BB) 6-4 6-4
Kyle Edmund (BB) bt Ryan Peniston (UJ) 6-7(2) 7-5 10-6
Jamie Murray/Heather Watson (UJ) bt Joe Salisbury/Emma Raducanu (BB) 6-4 6-4
Maia Lumsden (BB) bt Naomi Broady (UJ) 6-3 7-5
Jan Choinski (UJ) bt Liam Broady 6-2 6-3 (BB)
Anton Matusevich (UJ) bt Aidan McHugh (BB) 6-3 1-6 10-6
Olivia Nicholls/Alicia Barnett (UJ) bt Eden Silva/Beth Grey (BB) 6-4 6-3
British Bulldogs lead Union Jacks 31-25