ANDY Murray will lead Great Britain’s bid for glory in Ghent after the Belgian city was announced as the venue for the 2015 Davis Cup final.
Britain, who have not won the competition since 1936, beat Australia in the semi-finals and will now compete against Belgium for the title at the Flanders Expo from 27-29 November.
The International Tennis Federation confirmed yesterday that Tennis Vlaanderen had chosen the multi-use arena in Ghent, which features clay indoor courts.
Tennis Vlaanderen president Dirk de Maeseneer said in a statement: “Ghent will fully support the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final. As the third biggest city in Belgium, it has a lot of experience in hosting top international events, such as the Tour of Flanders, the arrival of the Tour de France in 2007 and the Gymnastics World Championships in 2001 and 2013.”
Britain would have been at home if Argentina had beaten Belgium in the other semi-final.
Murray, whose straight-sets win over Bernard Tomic sealed Britain’s victory over Australia, said in Glasgow on Sunday: “I’ve thought about what it means to reach the final. Let’s not think about what it means to win the event.
“We’ll have an opportunity to do that in the next match but there’s so much tennis still to go. A lot can happen between now and then.
“Belgium have a player in [David] Goffin who is very close to being in the top ten of the world and by then it’s possible that he is.
“Whichever surface they choose will be the one they feel gives them the best chance. There are no guarantees, but reaching the final is a big achievement, something that hasn’t been done for a long time, and everyone in the team should be very proud of that.”
With the Ghent final coming immediately after the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, Murray has been reconsidering his plans for the rest of the year to ensure he is in the best condition possible for Belgium.
The 28-year-old said: “I’m planning on playing [at October’s] Shanghai [Masters]. I’m not playing any other Asian events, but my current plans are to travel to Shanghai to practise outdoors because there are very few guys to practise with in London, and the weather is pretty up and down. I have booked flights to go.”
Murray would then be expected to contest the Paris Masters in early November, followed by the ATP World Tour Finals, yet the latter is an event he suggested at the weekend he might have to skip to prepare properly for the Davis Cup assignment.
ATP president Chris Kermode has since made it clear his organisation is expecting Murray to participate at the O2 from 15-22 November.
The world No 3 has not played competitively on clay since losing to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-final in June.
Clay has not traditionally been one of Murray’s preferred surfaces, but he enjoyed his most successful season on the red sand this year, winning titles in Munich and Madrid, before matching his best performance at Roland Garros.
Murray will be confident of winning his singles against the Belgians, which are likely to be against world No 15 Goffin, whom he beat in straight sets at Wimbledon last year, and Steve Darcis, ranked No 59 in the world. It means the final may hinge on the doubles match, where Murray will almost certainly partner his brother, Jamie, and the success of the second singles player, with James Ward, Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans all fighting it out for Britain’s number two spot.
Yesterday morning Murray tweeted: “So Ghent on the Clay for the Davis Cup final… very pumped! Think clay is a good surface for us looking forward to it.”