Andy Murray will try to join his fellow Big 4 cohorts by winning the Davis Cup title. This weekend Murray and Great Britain travel to Ghent to take on Belgium for the 2015 Davis Cup crown.
In singles Friday, Murray will open against Ruben Bemelmans while 19-year-old Kyle Edmund makes his debut against David Goffin.
With Murray the favored to win both singles on the red clay, Edmund will have an uphill battle to with either of his. That could leave the tie in the doubles which features both Andy and Jamie Murray against Kimmer Coppejans and Steve Darcis.
“It’s just exciting really,” said Edmund. “It’s my first match of the Davis Cup for my country. This is definitely going to be the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of, probably the biggest occasion. It is a new experience for me. It’s something I’m going to have to learn as I go through the match. But it’s a good problem and it’s exciting.”
The Belgiums opted to go with Bemelmens over Darcis who once beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.
“The weekend’s going to be long,” said Belgian coach Johan Van Herck. “I think with all the information I’ve had over the last two weeks practising, the information we have regarding the matches, the way we want to attack the matches, the way we see the weekend going, we thought it was the best decision to put Ruben tomorrow, and we’ll see after that who will play on Saturday and who will play on Sunday.”
Great Britain is trying to win its 10th Davis Cup title, first since Fred Perry helped to claim the trophy in 1936. Belgium are into their second Final, their first since losing to Great Britain in 1904.
“To win the biggest team competition in tennis, having beaten the other three Grand Slam nations, would be a huge victory for everyone in the team,” said Murray. “It would be well deserved as well. It’s taken a lot of time and hard work from many players, many of the staff, coaches, physios, everyone. It’s taken five years.
“When you win a Slam or a big competition, it’s obviously years in the work, but this is a bit different,” he continued. “The last five years it’s been a progression from a pretty low place in world tennis, to playing for the biggest team competition. It would be big for everyone involved for sure.”
BELGIUM v GREAT BRITAIN
Head-to-head: Great Britain leads 7-4
This is the 12th meeting between Belgium and Great Britain, but only their 2nd since 1963. Belgium won their last meeting 4-1 in Europe/Africa Zone Group I in Glasgow in 2012, with 3 members of the Belgium team nominated for this year’s Final – Ruben Bemelmans, Steve Darcis and David Goffin – all winning rubbers.
Great Britain has not defeated Belgium since 1963, when it won 5-0 on clay in Brussels. That year Billy Knight and Mike Sangster each won 2 singles rubbers, while Tony Pickard and Bobby Wilson won a 5-set decisive doubles in the 3rd rubber.
This rivalry is 111 years old. British Isles won the first meeting between the 2 nations in the World Group Challenge Round Final in 1904, when the Doherty brothers, Laurence and Reggie, won the decisive 3rd rubber in a 5-0 victory at Wimbledon (Worple Road).
Great Britain has a 4-2 win-loss record against Belgium on a clay court, while Belgium won the only previous indoor encounter between the 2 nations in their 2012 meeting at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena.
Venue: Flanders Expo, Ghent (clay – indoors)
R1: David Goffin (BEL) v Kyle Edmund (GBR)
R2: Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) v Andy Murray (GBR)
R3: Kimmer Coppejans/Steve Darcis (BEL) v Andy Murray/Jamie Murray (GBR)
R4: David Goffin (BEL) v Andy Murray (GBR)
R5: Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) v Kyle Edmund (GBR)
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