Davis Cup semi-final: Why a Great Britain win over Australia would be so historic

 
Joe Hall
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Great Britain play Australia in the Davis Cup semi-final (Source: Getty)

Not for the first time, Andy Murray could make British tennis history this weekend when he leads out the Great Britain team in their Davis Cup semi-final against Australia.


Read more: Murray quick to return Hewitt’s Davis Cup jibe

Neither Murray nor any of his Davis Cup teammates were alive the last time Great Britain appeared in the semi-finals of tennis' international team tournament in 1981, while it has been 37 years since the country made it one step further into the final.

But in Great Britain's sights is an even more historic achievement: Murray and co are bidding to win the Davis Cup for the first time since Fred Perry led the team in 1936, and in doing so end a wait even longer than those 77 years without a British Wimbledon champion.

The history boys?

Five years ago, Great Britain had to beat Turkey in order to avoid relegation out of the main World Group stage of the Davis Cup and into the Europe/Africa Zone III where they would have had to have played the likes of Malta, San Marino and Albania for the chance to mix it with the big boys once again.


Yet since then coach Leon Smith has guided the team back to the top of the tournament featuring 126 different nations and on the cusp of a final against Belgium or Argentina.

Who's in the team?

Andy Murray is joined by brother Jamie, DanEvans (ranked 297 places lower than Murray) and doubles specialist Dominic Inglot for the semi-final in Glasgow.

The inclusion of world No300 Dan Evans ahead of James Ward and Kyle Edmund as the team's second singles player is an eyebrow-raising gamble from Smith. Edmund has been left out after falling heavily in practice, while British No2 Ward, one of the stars of Great Britain's campaign so far, has endured a slump in form since his personal best performance at Wimbledon this summer.

Evans, in contrast, has won 31 of his last 36 matches but has beaten players in the world's top 200 just five times this year. This weekend he faces world No72 Thanasi Kokkinakis and No23 Bernard Tomic.


Daniel Evans in practice (Source: Getty)

What about the opposition?

In contrast to Great Britain, Australia have fearsome Davis Cup pedigree. They are the second most successful team in the competition's history having won it 28 times and finished runners-up 19 times. Since Great Britain's last triumph, the Aussies have won it 22 occassions.

However, they have not reached the final for 12 years and come into this weekend's meeting with issues of their own. Bernard Tomic has been recalled to the side after being cast out for their quarter-final against Kazakhstan for accusing Tennis Australia of abandoning him after he had hip surgery last year. Yet he has since swapped places with Australia's other tennis enfant terrible Nick Kyrgios, after he received a ban for lewd comments regarding Donna Vekic, girlfriend of world No4 Stan Wawrinka, and Thanasi Kokkinakis

At 34years old, Lleyton Hewitt is hoping to reach his fifth Davis Cup final in his final appearance at the competition - 16 years after making his debut as a teenager in 1999.

Schedule

Friday 18 September, 13.00 - 17.15 (BBC Two)

  • Andy Murray v Thanasi Kokkinakis
  • Daniel Evans v Bernard Tomic

Saturday 19 September, 13.00 - 16.30 (BBC One)

  • Dominic Inglot/Jamie Murray v Samuel Groth/Lleyton Hewitt

Sunday 20 September, 13.00 -16.45 (BBC Two)

  • Daniel Evans v Thanasi Kokkinakis
  • Andy Murray v Bernard Tomic

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