British Davis Cup Hopes

Mar 4, 2009

I’ve had a hunch for years that British sport is cursed. We won the rugby world cup in 2003 and things were looking great until our star player Jonny Wilkinson’s limbs basically started to drop off. We won the Ashes tournament in 2005 and have gone to a below average performance in test matches and been embroiled in some captain and coach troubles. And don’t even get me started on football.  When it comes to tennis, the trend has continued. For long period of time, the media built up Tim Henman as a true Wimbledon hope, then the hopes were shattered every year. It didn’t really have much to do with Tim Henman the player; he was a good player, but proved to be just not good enough compared to others when it came to winning Wimbledon.

Recently there’s been a period of relief of this curse with regards to tennis. Andy Murray has become the new British prodigy. I was suspicious; the media was telling us how amazing he is but they often aren’t a great judge of talent. But, so far, he’s delivered very well. Unfortunately, the British Sports Curse reared its ugly head again: Murray is unlikely to be able to play in the first match of the Davis Cup against Ukraine in Glasgow next week. Uh-oh, here we go again.

All we can do is cross our fingers and hope that he recovers in time. Thankfully it’s not some underlying physical complaint; he has come down with a virus that appears to be a continuation of a prevailing illness he suffered after the Australian Open. It could have been from the physical stress of the gruelling Grand Slam, but however it came about, we can only wait and see if he will be available for the rest of the tournament.

It’s a bit of a downer for anyone who has put money or hopes on England to win the Davis Cup. Particularly since the captain of the Spanish team Albert Costa has said of his own squad: “Everybody’s perfect. Nadal’s 100%, everyone on the team is 100% healthy.” This team also has a certain superhero quality to it: Rafael Nadal, Nicolas Almagro, Feliciano Lopez and Tommy Robredo. 

But despite the missing Murray, the British team still has a fighting chance with other great young talents. Josh Goodall, who has played at Wimbledon three times now; Chris Eaton, who reached the second round of Wimbledon last year; and Ross Hutchins, a doubles specialist and the only one with Davis Cup experience under his belt. Due to Murray being unable to play, James Ward and Colin Fleming were taken to Glasgow with the rest of the team as substitutes. The captain John Lloyd needs to decide which one should play; you can’t help but feel for those two. One of them will have the chance to represent their country in an illustrious tournament, the other will have just missed out. Considering they are both brilliant young up-and-coming players in their own right, I personally couldn’t make the decision Lloyd has to make.

So despite the British Sporting Curse hitting once again, there is always hope. Maybe Britain as a nation needs to learn how to capitalise on young new talent, rather than pinning all its hopes onto one rising star.


-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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