Britwatch Breakdown – 5 things to know about GB v France in the Davis Cup QF

By Ros Satar

  • Team announced on Tuesday
  • No Andy Murray as he continues to rest his elbow
  • Not the first time Murray (the younger) has had to miss a tie but what are GBs chances without him

LONDON, UK – The Aegon GB team have been announced for the forthcoming tie with France in the Davis Cup quarter-finals, but what are our five key takeaways?

 

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The Teams

The Aegon GB team will consist of:

The team should come as a surprise to no-one especially after Jamie confirmed to members of the British press currently out in Miami that brother Andy Murray had a muscle tear that was requiring ongoing treatment. In fact Murray Minor’s participation in his first scheduled tournament in Monte Carlo may also be at risk if he requires longer recovery and rehabilitation.

They will be facing a French team of:

Lucas Pouille (World No. 15)

Gilles Simon (World No. 25)

Pierre Hugues Herbert (World No 6 – Doubles)

Nicolas Mahut (World No. 1 – Doubles)

 

The Task

Great Britain (seeded No. 3 in the Davis Cup this year) will need to overcome a French side which continues to have strength in depth. The French have three players on the Top 20, and a total of five players in the Top 30 alone.

Yet even with Murray on his last legs in the Davis Cup semi-final at Queen’s in their last meeting, the year the Brits were triumphant in winning the Davis Cup title, they found a way to beat an equally strong and experienced French side.

This time they are away (yet with the same determined and loyal fans) on clay at the start of the clay court season, so some could argue that any home advantage is debatable.

In a statement from the LTA, Aegon GB Davis Cup Captain Leon Smith said: “In Dan and Kyle we have two Top-50 singles players who are improving all the time on the tour and both with games capable of upsetting higher ranked opponents. Jamie and Dom once again combine as our doubles team and will draw much confidence after performing so well recently to win key rubbers against Serbia and Canada to defeat Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil.

“This is a team with significant Davis Cup experience now and these guys have all stepped up and delivered performances at the very top of the competition. Not having Andy in the side is obviously a big loss to our team but most importantly we all wish him well for a speedy recovery back to full health and fitness. I know that he would really want to be here with the rest of the team.”

He continued: “Facing France in a Davis Cup tie is a tough test for any group of players and this Rouen quarterfinal will be no exception. They have the strongest depth of squad by far, out of any nation in the competition.

“The dedication of our fans is something special. This was demonstrated most recently by the incredible support we received in Ottawa. For me and all of the players they feel very much part of this team.”

 

The Implications

Sure, we are missing Murray-the-younger but any who were present in Serbia to see what the wins against Janko Tipsarevic and Dusan Lajovic meant to Edmund who was the GB No. 1 player at the time saw how it lifted his confidence.

While he had one lacklustre performance against an inspired Vasek Pospisil, he was very much in control of his match against Denis Shapovalov until the match descended into chaos after the Canadian struck the chair umpire with a ball and he was defaulted.

The question is – can Edmund channel that kind of confidence once more as he plays French players who have years more experience on the tour and in Davis Cup?

Step forward also Evans whose change of fortunes ranking-wise coincides with him changing his attitude a great deal. Well, in certain areas. He still allows himself to get distracted and to run off at the mouth in matches and he really has to kerb that before he lands himself in some real hot water, when he should let his flair and talent do the talking.

Edmund has experience of playing both Pouille (H2H: 1-0 in Edmund’s favour when Pouille retired injured in the season opener in Brisbane) and has a 1-1 record against Simon. Evans has yet to face either player.

 

Where will all this take place

The Davis Cup quarter-final will take place in the Kindarena in Rouen on indoor clay, with the Brits aiming to reach a third straight semi-final against No. 6 seeds France. Interestingly enough GB leads the head to head against our neighbours over The Channel 12-9 and has wins on the dirt in each of the last two years.

 

When

The Davis Cup quarter-finals will take place between 7-9 April.

 

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