Team GB all square
BRITISH tennis has leant heavily on the Murray family. The Davis Cup is no exception as is being witnessed in Team GBÈs first-round tie against Canada played on a surface laid on top of an ice rink in frozen Ottawa.
Youngest sibling Andy almost single-handedly helped Team GB lift the competition they founded for the first time since the 1930s two years ago. And the world No.1, resting at home in Surrey, tried to inspire his erstwhile teammates with a video of support played on a big screen to them by captain Leon Smith before the opening singles.
It had mixed results. Dan Evans, fresh from breaking the top 50 with a run to the fourth round of the Australian Open, maintained form despite the contrasting conditions from sunny Melbourne.
Evans, the teamÈs No.1 for the first time, managed to dampen the teenage fire of Junior Wimbledon champion Denis Shapovalov, 17, he of the long blond hair, 6-3 6-3 6-4 in style.
But off-form Kyle Edmund, close to tears, slumped to a surprise 6-4 6-1 7-6 reverse against Vasek Pospisil, who was injury-troubled and ranked 86 spots below him.
And it left the oldest Murray sibling, Jamie, who attained world No.1 in doubles by the end of 2016, needing to help inspire alongside Dom Inglot in the doubles rubber against 44-year-old Daniel Nestor, in his 50th tie, and Pospisl to put Team GB back in front.
GB captain Leon Smith said: The most important thing is to dust KyleÈs defeat off and focus now on the next matches. ThereÈs a lot of tennis to be played.
The most important thing is to dust KyleÈs defeat off and focus now on the next matches. ThereÈs a lot of tennis to be played.
It had been going so well. Evans victory over Shapovalov, the world No.234, was his first in a live rubber in four years.
His left-handed opponent showed his potential in patches but made a ton of unforced errors against dominant Evans.
The 26-year-old Brit broke the Canadian in the first game and last of the opening set. Evans saved two break points and went on to seal a 2-0 lead and secured the crucial break in the third with a lob.
Evans said: “I tried to get on top early.That was the plan, to come out and silence him and not give him confidence. I did that and then rolled him from then on. I was happy with way I played.”
On And MurrayÈs backing, he added: “We had a video from Andy last night and Leon put it on the big screen. I’m guessing he was watching. He said he would be. It’s obviously nice he supports the team. He’s a good guy to have in our corner.”
Edmund, 22, said: It was just not good enough, pretty dismal from my standards. Everyone can accept winning and losing but it needs to be a lot better at this level.
IÈm just very disappointed for myself, for the team. ItÈs annoying when you have support like that and fans come out and spend money and travel and to put on a performance like that. You just really want to do well.
World No.47 Edmund struggled to limit errors as Pospisil kept the points short on a quick surface.
* Quotes from the BBC and the Guardian.