With Britain without its top two ranked players for the Davis Cup first round tie against Spain, on clay in Marbella, it was going to be a difficult task for Team GB to move into the quarter-finals. Liam Broady and Cameron Norrie would each make their first appearances.
Andy Murray is recovering from hip surgery, and Kyle Edmund (whose favourite surface is clay) pulled out of the tie with a hip problem, so the task fell to Davis Cup debutants Broady and Norrie.
As predicted the tie went the way of Spain, who were without Rafael Nadal; however, it was not quite the way it would have been predicted. Both Broady and Norrie gave good accounts of themselves, with Norrie being the “surprise” package.
Norrie turned professional not long ago, and not only was this his first Davis Cup tie, it was his first professional match on European red clay and his first five-set match. The Brit defeated the Spanish clay court specialist Roberto Bautista-Agut over the distance.
However, to those who have followed NCAA Tennis, the name Cameron Norrie would not have been new to them, as he ended his time at college as the top ranked male player in the collegiate.
With the defeat, it means that GB will need to play a tie in September in the play-offs to try and remain within the World Group, only four years after getting there. As a seeded team, their opponents cannot be another seeded team but the teams they can face are still talented.
An away tie is most likely, as a lot of the teams the Brits could face they last played at home, including Argentina. Wherever the tie is, travel is going to be an issue, especially for the fans who go along with the team.
On the upside, since in September Murray should be available again in the singles; providing he has returned to full fitness and recovered from the surgery, his plan is to return certainly by the grass season if not before.
Having Murray back on the team will certainly boost the confidence of the team. Having your top ranked player available to play the tie is always a good thing.
Thinking forward to when Murray has finally hung up his professional racquet, the display by both Broady and Norrie certainly shows that the GB team have young bright talent in the mix.
Also the display and fight shown by Norrie in both his rubbers at the weekend should also help to bring even more youngsters into the sport, which is after all what the legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games in London was all about, and something that Murray et. al. have been doing their utmost to encourage and continue.
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