Tag Archives: Davis

His greatest achievement so far?

Exhausted and emotionally drained, Andy Murray fell to the ground, finally releasing the iron grip that carried Great Britain to their first Davis Cup triumph since the days of long trousers and cigarettes between points.

It had been 79 years since Britain last accomplished the feat, sustained by the dream team of Fred Perry and Bunny Austin.  

As Murray’s conclusive, sublimely executed backhand lob sailed over a prone David Goffin and several inches inside the baseline, the Scottish superstar crumbled to the ground in elation, having carried his team throughout the competition. 

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

Belgium’s Flanders Expo in Ghent provided the stage from which the drama unfolded, with the home side selecting a slow clay surface in an attempt to negate Murray’s influence.

That theory proved futile, with the world number two virtually as adept on all surfaces in 2015, as showcased in a thrilling French Open semi-final earlier this year, where world number one, Novak Djokovic, required five sets to dispense with the Scot in one of their many memorable encounters.

Others contributed to GB’s four excellent wins. James Ward’s unexpected 15-13 fifth set triumph over USA’s John Isner proved pivotal in a 3-2 first round victory, and Jamie Murray backed up his younger bro’ in the doubles, with the pair winning both of their encounters against France and Belgium.

David Goffin

Still, this would not have been conceivable without the unwavering desire of the squad’s talismanic spearhead, who ticked another goal from his bucket list often, at the expense of results within solo competition.

Indeed, Andy entered the ATP World Tour Finals clearly distracted by the impending Davis Cup decider. Having trained almost exclusively on clay courts in the build-up, he struggled to adapt to the harder surface of London’s O2 Arena, crashing out in the group stages, although in retrospect those extra recovery days proved beneficial.

From the street of Dunblane to British sporting royalty, a Knighthood is destined to come his way, although preferably only after retirement has kicked in; tribute to a remarkable career.

With his first child on the way, life is rosy for a 28 year-old at the peak of his powers. He should retire from Davis Cup action immediately to focus on four final career goals;

  • Become world number one for the first time

  •  Win the French Open

  • Win the Australian Open

  • Win the ATP Tour Finals

Achieve those and his career will have a feeling of finality about it, although with the irrepressible Djokovic on the scene (and born within a week of Murray), all may not be plain sailing.

For now it’s only right that Murray should bask in the glow of arguably his most unlikely triumph to date. To cajole glory from a team that in recent years lost matches to Ecuador, Lithuania and Morocco, is an accomplishment that deserves to be savoured.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Murray and Murray = The Winning Formula?

Andy Murray and Dan Evans will carry British hopes on the final day of the Davis Cup semi-final against Australia in Glasgow.

Victory in either of their singles ties would take Great Britain through to a first final since 1978.

This follows a thrilling and potentially pivotal five-set doubles success for Andy and older brother Jamie on Saturday, as they re-focused after missing out on match point in the fourth set tie-break to vanquish Aussies Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

Andy Murray RobinsonsSunday Service

Murray, the world number three, is likely to play world number 23 Bernard Tomic at 13.00 BST, while Dan Evans, all the way down at 300th in the rankings, will face talented teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis (world no.72), selected in place of the controversial Nick Kyrgios.

Belgium host Argentina in the other World Group semi-final in Brussels, with that tie poised at 2-1 in favour of the South Americans.


History Makers

It was 34 years ago that Britain last made the Davis Cup semi-finals, 37 years since they reached the final, and 79 years since they lifted the trophy courtesy of dream team pairing Fred Perry and Bunny Austin in 1936.

Wins over the USA and France, plus the absence of powerhouses such as Serbia, Switzerland and Spain from the semis, have raised the prospect of a 10th title.

Australia have won the Davis Cup 28 times, with veteran Hewitt, who is set to retire after this campaign, leading the way during their most recent triumph 12 years ago.


Controversial Selection

Leon Smith’s decision to select the unpredictable Evans over the more acclaimed James Ward and Kyle Edmund was a surprise, and the biggest gamble of his five-year captaincy, but almost paid dividends on day one, with the diminutive Brummie taking Tomic to the limit.

Despite this, it is two brothers who grew up in the small Scottish cathedral Town of Dunblane that have carried GB’s hopes most recently, with Andy previously winning both of his singles and the doubles with Jamie to secure victory over France at the quarter-final stage.

An Evans victory today would be a bonus, but it is the broad shoulders of Andy Murray that will once again carry the load if Great Britain is to secure the spoils and head into a shoot-out with Belgium or Argentina for the trophy.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

50 Greatest British sports stars of all-time: 40-31

In the second part of Kureen’s top 50 British sports stars countdown we look at numbers 40-31. Check out 50-41 by clicking here.

*Article profile picture courtesy of Louis Swann.

40: Christine Ohuruogu

Christine Ohuruogu

Revelling on the big stage, London born Ohuruogu has won 400m gold and silver medals at the last two Olympic games, adding to two World titles gained in 2007 and 2013.

Her career was in danger of going horribly awry in 2006, with a one year suspension from athletics the result of three missed out-of-competition drug tests. A 2009 MBE reflected her figurative rehabilitation in the eyes of her peers.

39: Steve Davis

A perceived lack of personality held Davis back from super stardom, as he romped gleefully towards half a dozen world title wins during his 1980’s pomp.

Conversely it is for defeat that he is best remembered by casual fans, his 1985 epic with Dennis Taylor ending 18-17 to the bespectacled Northern Irishman, as Davis crumbled from 8-0 up, eventually missing a decisive final frame black, with a still unrivalled 18.5 million BBC 2 viewers tuning in until almost 1am for the climax.

38: Gary Lineker

The ‘Match of The Day’ anchorman came within a spot-kick of equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s England goalscoring record, fluffing a penalty against Brazil that would have drawn him level with the 49 scored by the Manchester United legend.

Still, 48 goals in 80 international games, a World Cup golden boot, and prolific scoring stints with Barcelona, Spurs, Everton and his beloved Leicester City all contributed to a wonderful football career that ended prematurely due to a toe injury.

37: WG Grace

‘Doctor’ William Gilbert Grace was the first celebrity of cricket, once refusing to walk when bowled out in a friendly match, replacing the bails and telling a disgruntled bowler “they’ve come to see me bat, not you bowl!”

Beyond the bravado Grace was a terrific all-rounder, whose First Class batting average of around 40 accompanied a bowling average of 18, and was all the more impressive due to the state of the uncovered pitches of the time. He played his final Test match in 1899, finally hanging up his whites in 1908, aged 60.

36. Phil Taylor

Depending on which side of the bed you lay upon ‘The Power’ either shouldn’t make the list due to a lack of perceptible athleticism, or should be placed far higher due to an unrivalled 14 world championship titles.

It is for his relentless quest for perfection at the oche that he deserves to be recognised, in total securing 40 major title victories. At the age of 55 his skills finally appear to be diminishing, but with a brimming trophy cabinet and 10 televised nine-darters in the bag his legacy, and financial security, have long been assured.

35: Sir Leonard Hutton

One of England’s most headstrong cricket captains, and arguably their finest ever batsman, Yorkshireman Hutton broke team-mate Wally Hammond’s Test record score by compiling a 13-hour innings of 364 against Australia in 1938.

Sir Leonard Hutton plaq

That mark stood for 20 years, and remains an Ashes record today – Hutton relishing contests with England’s arch rivals, also winning both of his series against Australia as captain. Remarkably he achieved all of this despite prime years of his career being lost to the Second World War, where he additionally suffered significant wrist and forearm injuries.  

34: Sir Gordon Richards

The only jockey to ever be knighted, Sir Gordon Richards was the British flat racing champion on 26 separate occasions during a 33-year career that included almost 5000 career wins.

As the only major event he hadn’t won, the Epsom Derby became an obsession for Richards, and in 1953, in his final dash for glory, he was finally able to add the trophy to his collection, storming to victory on 5-1 joint favourite Pinza.

33: Tanni Grey-Thompson

Grey-Thompson boasts one of the most decorated careers of any athlete, her 11 gold medals spread across four Paralympic games from 1992-2004.

Hailing from Cardiff, Wales, the future wheelchair racing icon was born with spina Bifida, eventually heading to Loughborough University in pursuit of athletic excellence. This was accomplished, and a 2005 promotion to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) was as much recognition of her service to disadvantaged people as it was her sparkling career on the track.

32: Virginia Wade 

Famed for her 1977 Wimbledon singles title, Wade boasts a 100% success ratio in solo Grand-Slam finals, winning all three that she contested. The only reason she doesn’t make the top 20 is due to her era not being among the strongest for the women’s game.

Her place in the hearts of British sports fans was assured via US (1968) and Australian Open (1972) singles victories that saw her rise to world number two, as well as four doubles slams, but her legacy was truly cemented by that win at SW19. 

31: Matthew Pincent

The often overlooked half of the Redgrave/Pincent dynasty, Matthew Pincent was an outstanding rower in his own right, earning gold at four consecutive Olympic games between 1992 and 2004.

Ten more gold medals at world level established him as one of the greatest the sport has ever seen; that he will forever be viewed in Redgrave’s looming shadow owes more to his colleague’s incredible achievements than any shortcomings in Pincent’s own makeup.

As we hurtle rapidly towards the top 30, let us know what you think of parts one and two. Come back tomorrow to find out who filled positions 30-21.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.