Davis Cup: Britain lose to US as Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury suffer late-night doubles defeat

·3-min read
 (Getty Images for LTA)
(Getty Images for LTA)

Andy Murray had been expected to play the role of a glorified super-sub for Britain’s Davis Cup ambitions.

But called out of the reserves late into the Glasgow night by captain Leon Smith, he and doubles partner Joe Salisbury could not quite get his side over the line as GB lost their opening Cup encounter against the United States.

The tie had hung in the balance after Dan Evans lost the opening rubber to Tommy Paul and then Cameron Norrie fought back from a set down to level the tie against Taylor Fritz.

Smith made the gamble to drop world No3 Neal Skupski fresh from the US Open final and bring in the more experienced Murray. And the move looked to pay off as they moved into a 7-5, 3-1 lead against Salisbury’s regular playing partner Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock.

But the American duo turned the tide of the set and the match for a 5-7, 6-4, 7-5. It left the hosts needing to win their remaining ties against the Netherlands and Kazakhstan to have aspirations to take one of the top two spots to qualify from their group.

Dissecting the match, Murray said: “The only positive from tonight is that usually you lose a Davis Cup doubles match, it can lose you the whole tie or whatever, you’re knocked out of the competition.

“But with the new format, obviously we got two more matches. We need to try to look at the positives from today. I think everyone played a good level from what I watched.”

Murray and Salisbury only made it out onto court after 10pm for the deciding doubles to mostly full stands, which emptied out as the finish nearly hit 1am.

 (Getty Images for LTA)
(Getty Images for LTA)

Murray bemoaned tennis’ scheduling following in the wake of a series of late finishes for players at the recent US Open.

“There’s probably half of the people in there at the end of the match that were here at the beginning,” he said. “It’s a bit of a shame because they missed a great match. It’s not probably because they didn’t want to stay. If you’ve got children here, you can’t stay with them. If you’ve got to get a bus or train home, you can’t do it.”

In what was very much a 50-50 tie in all three matches, Evans recovered from a set down but ultimately could not find a way past world No25 Tommy Paul in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 defeat after which he said, “I played good tennis, I just couldn’t get over the line.”

Norrie had been earmarked in the Murray role of his heyday as the new world No8 and the star player of the British team. But he struggled initially against Taylor Fritz before fighting back for a 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 win.

“I knew exactly what was on the line,” he said. “I knew it was a must-win match for us. I think the more the pressure, the more I was backed into a corner, the better I actually played today.”

That teed up the winner-takes-all doubles, which the US just edged leaving Smith to ponder his best doubles pairing going into the meetings against the Netherlands and Kazakhstan.