Great Britain continued to make progress in the Davis Cup group stage as they defeated Switzerland 2-1 on Friday in Manchester on an emotional day for Andy Murray, who sealed the opening rubber with a tough 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-4 win against Leandro Riedi.
During his on-court interview, a tearful Murray revealed that the funeral of his own paternal grandmother, Ellen, took place on the same day: “Today is a tough day for me; it’s actually my gran’s funeral,” he said. “I’m sorry to my family that I’m not able to be there. Gran, that one is for you.”
Later, the 36-year-old said that he did not tell the captain, Leon Smith, about his bereavement but he had been urged by his father, William, to play: “I spoke to my dad about it and he said: ‘She would want you to play.’ He just said ‘make sure you win’, so I did.”
Smith said: “It just shows his strength of character to do what he did today – I’m sure that was a tough one for him to miss. All you can say is what he then goes out and does is really quite incredible.”
Stan Wawrinka, Murray’s old rival, drew Switzerland level with an excellent 7-5, 6-4 win over Cameron Norrie before Dan Evans and Neal Skupski sealed the tie with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-3 win over Wawrinka and Dominic Stricker.
Two days after the Great Britain captain Leon Smith surprised the Australian team by opting for the team’s two in-form players, Jack Draper and Dan Evans, Smith followed up Great Britain’s win over Australia with even more tinkering. An hour before play began, the draw revealed that Smith had substituted both singles players for Murray and Norrie. Switzerland provided their own surprise; Murray had been training against left-handers all week with the expectation that he would face Stricker, the Swiss No 2. Murray’s call-up marked just his second live singles rubber since 2016, with the 36-year-old improving his incredible Davis Cup singles record to 33-3.
A former junior Roland Garros finalist now ranked No 152, Riedi demonstrated his weapons by eviscerating his forehand and relentlessly attacked Murray’s serve, aiming for the lines and frequently finding them. The 21-year-old recovered from 5-2 down in the first set and saved four set points before taking the first set. Murray adjusted well, however, finding sufficient length and pace on his strokes as he gradually turned the match around and sealed another Davis Cup victory.
While Evans’ performed brilliantly on Wednesday against Alex de Minaur, he has a 0-5 record against Wawrinka. Norrie was substituted in, allowing Evans to remain fresh for the decisive doubles match. The British No 1 was ultimately outplayed by an excellent Wawrinka. The 38-year-old served brilliantly, firing down 17 aces, and he played clean, decisive attacking tennis to take the match.
In the decisive rubber, a well-rested Evans and Skupski, the Wimbledon champion, dominated the Swiss with their intelligence, net dominance and greater familiarity to close off the tie. Great Britain will face France in the final rubber on Sunday.
A win for Switzerland against Australia on Saturday would confirm Great Britain’s place in the quarter-finals, but a third win for Great Britain may be required to ensure that they reach the knockout stages in Malaga.