Russia hails a new hero after 20-year-old Mikhail Youzhny (pictured) stages an astonishing comeback to win his country their first ever Davis Cup. Youzhny, a late substitute in the deciding singles, beats Paul-Henri Mathieu 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in a showdown between two of the most inexperienced players to feature in the title-match. Youzhny, a ballboy the last time his country appeared in a final in 1995, is brought in by Russian coach Shamil Tarpischev to replace former world number one Yevgeny Kafelnikov in a gamble which proves a masterstroke. Not since 1964 have a team come back from 2-1 down in a final to win the title and Youzhny is the first to come from two sets down in the final singles to win the Davis Cup. 'Now we have a new hero,' says Kafelnikov as he bounces Youzhny in the air. The Russian regains his nerve after two dreadful sets to claw his way back into the match, dousing Mathieu's fire and the passion of the Parisian crowd. 'When I was two sets down I decided to carry on playing my game and see what happened,' says Youzhny. As the Russian team swarms on to the claycourt to embrace Youzhny after Mathieu hits a return of service wide, former president Boris Yeltsin climbs over a courtside barrier to bearhug anyone Russian he meets en route to his young compatriot. Tarpischev does not believe Kafelnikov, who was thrashed in the opening singles and beaten with Marat Safin in the doubles, is in the right physical or mental state of mind for the decider. 'Yevgeny has done so much for Russian tennis, we deserved this title,' says Safin, who wins both his singles in the final. 'I cannot describe what I'm feeling right now. It's just something that is so great. It's the best - better than sex, you can say that,' he laughs. Of Youzhny's exploits in recovering from two sets down, the 22-year-old Muscovite adds: 'He showed that he's a real man. He's a Russian man. He knows how to fight.' Russia, formerly the Soviet Union, first played Davis Cup tennis in 1962 and lost two finals, in 1994 and 1995. Mathieu, who makes his Davis Cup debut in the final after winning two ATP titles in October, loses both his singles and bursts into tears as his teammates offer sympathy. 'Defeats are tough to take, but it's not easy to come in and play a decisive match such as this,' Mathieu says. 'But I'll get over it. With this atmosphere you can't not like the Davis Cup.' Says French captain Guy Forget: 'Bravo to the Russians, but Paul-Henri gave everything. It was not Paul-Henri's defeat, it was a defeat of the whole team. He will come back much stronger and will become one of the pillars of the French team.' In the first reverse singles, Safin batters Sebastien Grosjean into a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 submission to level the tie at 2-2. An exhausted Safin keeps Russia's Cup hopes alive by winning a thrilling third set tiebreak 13-11. 'I was praying to finish in three sets, I was getting tired - but I was inspired,' says Safin. Grosjean says: 'For two sets he was playing like a god and was at the very top of his form but I didn't back down.'