Great Britain’s Davis Cup defence came to a disappointing end yesterday as Dan Evans lost the deciding rubber at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.
A remarkable comeback from 2-0 seemed on when Andy Murray, who had teamed up with brother Jamie to give GB a lifeline in Saturday’s doubles, beat Guido Pella in straight sets to level the tie and news emerged that Argentina’s top player, Juan Martin Del Potro, was too fatigued to play the final match.
Evans stormed to the first set against world No 114 Leo Mayer but fell away and slumped to a 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 4-6 loss which gave Argentina a 3-2 overall victory. It ended a run of six straight wins for the British team, who followed up their first Davis Cup win for 79 years last year with victories over Japan and Serbia in 2016.
The GB captain Leon Smith, pictured, paid tribute to the Murray brothers, who once again were the heart and soul of the team, garnering the two points which came so close to teeing up another famous triumph.
Andy bounced back from only his third Davis Cup singles defeat on Friday, when he lost a marathon five-hour plus epic against Del Potro, to haul himself through the pain barrier and beat Pella despite needing an injury timeout in the third set.
It completed an emotional weekend for the Dunblane brothers, who are mourning the recent death of their paternal grandfather.
Smith said: “Yet again amazing commitment. We are very fortunate to have those two boys. They’re a credit to themselves, their families and the sport. They keep fighting. For sure it has been a very difficult time for them but they’ve managed to go out and give their best for their country again.
“To lose a family member is very difficult and it must have an effect. But Andy fought his heart out and did his family proud again.”
Smith reflected on a gilded run in the men’s team event and added: “We’ve lost a semi-final so of course it sucks. It feels rough, and so it should. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point again. But we’ve had great times in the Davis Cup. We’ve had a hell of a run.
“Our team is in much better shape than it was a few years ago. We’ll continue to enjoy the weekends.
“We may not be able to go on another run like that. But next year is another opportunity to keep building the team and give the players the chance to play in what is an incredible event.”