Leon Smith tips Great Britain for chance of Davis Cup glory in Malaga
Great Britain are dreaming of more Davis Cup glory after pulling off a remarkable victory over France to book their spot in the quarter-finals.
Needing victory in their final tie at a sold-out AO Arena in Manchester to reach the knock-out stages, it went all the way to a final-set tie-break in the last rubber, with Dan Evans and Neal Skupski saving four match points against Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin before triumphing 1-6 7-6 (4) 7-6 (6).
When a final French return flew long, Evans and Skupski fell to court before leaping into each others’ arms then celebrating with the rest of the team.
Evans was Britain’s key man across the three ties, winning four rubbers, including two against France having battled from behind to see off teenager Arthur Fils in the opening singles.
“It was nuts,” said the 33-year-old. “The singles is the singles and I feel comfortable on that court but the doubles was chaos. I just kept saying to Neal, ‘We’ve got a chance, we’ve got a chance’. We both kept going. We stuck together.
“It was an amazing day, an amazing feeling. Emotional more than anything. You want to be with these guys in the finals and you know what happens if you lose, it’s not ideal being at home as well. You feel that. It’s an immensely proud moment for me and the team.”
Evans talked after beating Fils about how attending Davis Cup matches as a boy in Birmingham had made him want to play professional tennis and this was his 25th tie across 14 years.
His has been one of the more tumultuous careers in British tennis and last year he annoyed captain Leon Smith and his team-mates by publicly airing his grievances about not being picked in doubles after Britain crashed out in the group stage in Glasgow.
Smith gave the 33-year-old