Brotherly bonds unbreakable as Murrays put Britain on brink of Davis Cup victory

Scottish pair win doubles to have GB one rubber away from win

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 November, 2015, 9:51am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 November, 2015, 9:51am

As mayhem reigned in the stands and a head-throbbing noise shook an industrial warehouse in Ghent to its frame, two brothers summoned the skills acquired on a windy Dunblane tennis court to put Britain on the cusp of Davis Cup glory on Saturday.

With their Belgian opponents threatening to put a giant spanner in Britain's bid for a long-awaited title, Andy and Jamie Murray's bond proved unshakeable as they triumphed 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 against David Goffin and Steve Darcis.

If world number two Andy beats Goffin on the red dirt at the Flanders Expo on Sunday, and only the brave would bet against him, his team will be champions for the first time in 79 years and there would be a strong case for the 115-year-old trophy being housed in Dunblane town hall in Scotland for a year.

Without its two favourite sons – only one rubber has been won by a player whose name is not Murray in this year's run – Britain would still be in the tennis wilderness.

Andy, 28, is already a national sporting hero, having, in 2013, become the first British male since Fred Perry in 1936 to win Wimbledon, a year after he landed the US Open and the London Olympics titles.

Late bloomer Jamie has become one of the best doubles specialists in the world, reaching the Wimbledon final in July.

Andy's triumphs were personal, rewards for the sacrifices made since moving to Spain as a callow teenager to further his ambitions in what is essentially an individual sport.

On Saturday, it was all about country and family.

It did not all go to plan though.

The brothers slipped behind in the third set after losing the second but with Andy's reliability holding the fort while Jamie's usually lethal volleying skills temporarily went missing, it all turned out okay in the end.

The hundreds of British fans led by the so-called Stirling University Barmy Army, complete with tartan caps, ginger wigs, a tuba and drums, went crazy as Darcis spooned a return wide to end a contest that was closer than the score suggested.

The brass band went through its repertoire and the Murray boys saluted them and high-fived Britain's support team.

Once the fans had left to celebrate in Ghent's many watering holes, the Murrays spoke of what it all means to be brothers in arms in the pressure-cooker of a Davis Cup final.

Self-effacing as ever, Jamie, 29, joked: “It's probably more reassuring for me than it is for him” after being asked the importance of having his brother alongside.

“We didn't panic. We stayed composed throughout. We fought hard for each other.

Andy, who partnered his brother to doubles wins against France and Australia en route to the final, said: “I trust Jamie on the doubles court so much. Even if he started slow I knew he would get it going. He loves playing in big matches.

“I just trust him when he's on the court, when he's next to me. Not just because he's my brother but because he's an exceptionally good tennis player.”

While Jamie's work is done, his younger brother must recover to face Goffin on Sunday. Victory would be his 11th 'live' rubber win in this year's competition without a single loss, something no other player has achieved.