Great Britain's slim chances of beating the USA on the clay in San Diego rest on Andy Murray, writes Unibet columnist Dominic Bliss...
Davis Cup Betting: USA 1.30, Great Britain 3.40.
Andy Murray's got a busy weekend ahead of him.
If Great Britain are to have a snowball's chance in hell of beating USA in their Davis Cup tie, he's going to have to play his two singles rubbers plus the doubles alongside Colin Fleming – all in the space of three days. It's a tough ask, especially as the Scotsman has barely recovered from his five matches Down Under in the sauna of Melbourne.
As is so often the case with the country that invented tennis, Britain has only one singles player of note to call upon. As well as doubles specialists Colin Fleming and Dominic Inglot, travelling alongside Murray to Petco Park in San Diego is 26-year-old James Ward (ranked 175 in the world and with only one Grand Slam match victory ever) and 19-year-old Kyle Edmund (ranked 336 in the world and with no Grand Slam match victories at all).
Lambs to the slaughter when you consider the experience and the ranking of the Americans they’re up against. In the singles there’s big gun John Isner (ranked 13 in the world) and Sam Querrey (49). Murray should certainly win both his singles matches, but James Ward (presuming he’s picked as the other singles man) is going to struggle like a lone redcoat up against a troupe of well-armed colonials.
In the doubles the Yanks have by far the world’s strongest team in the form of the Bryan brothers. In fact, you could argue they’re the greatest doubles team ever to have wielded racket. Barring disaster, they will be happily bumping chests on their way to victory in their rubber this weekend. Even if Murray and Fleming play a blinder, the two Scotsmen just don’t have the almost telepathic team communication that the American twins use to such great effect.
History isn’t on the side of the Brits, either. USA have taken on Great Britain a total of 18 times in Davis Cup, including the first ever tie staged in this international team competition, all the way back in 1900.
And you can ignore the seemingly well-matched tie record of 11-7 in USA’s favour since the last time Britain won was before the Second World War. 1935, to be precise, aided by Fred Perry, Bunny Austin, wooden rackets, some rather snazzy sports jackets and the familiar surroundings of Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
Perversely, one factor that may play into the hands of the visiting Britons this weekend is the court surface. The American captain, Jim Courier, opted for clay, knowing that traditionally this is the least favoured surface of UK players. What he didn’t bank on was the temporary court being so fast and so slippery. (It’s clay, Jim, but not as we know it.
Bet on the Davis Cup winner here.