Nice to see the Brits have a win in the Davis Cup even if it was at the expense of Australia. You probably are well aware of my views on how we run the Davis Cup in this country and I felt that Tennis Australia showed no faith in its players. The grass court selection at home was the obvious give away. Who trains on grass ?
When I wrote that previous chapter it was on the assumption that Great Britain would play two doubles specialists in Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot against the Aussie pairing of Hewitt and Groth.
Whether you agree with me or not the fact is this, Hewitt has never been considered a great doubles player despite him being half of the winning duo at the US Open in 2000. His partner then however was and still is a doubles genius in Max Mirnyi of Belarus.
No offence Lleyton but this guy could win with anyone, same as Bjorkman who proved just that in carrying Rafter to the 1999 Australian Open Doubles title. No way in the World could Rafter have won that title unless he was partnered with someone of Bjorkman's doubles ability. Some players have been rather fortunate to play with guys who really can win with anyone next to them, such is their ability to play the two on two format.
So to the original statement and that is this, I picked the Brits to win the doubles in 4 sets over Australia because I felt that Inglot and Murray were the obvious choice. In March against the greatest doubles team of all time the Bryan Brothers they lost 7-9 in the fifth set, not many combinations could get that close. The fact that Inglot and Murray hardly ever play doubles together and actually combine brilliantly is testimony to the fact that they are a team that actually should play together in Davis Cup.
So it was a rather big surprise to see the Murray's walk out to take on Hewitt and Groth as Andy barely plays any doubles despite his remarkable ability as a tennis player in general. Watching some of his returns was like watching a genius in a work shop but doubles is all about taking the net away from the opponent and Andy is not comfortable serve and volleying.
Despite that the Brits just got over the line in a rather entertaining match. My tip of a 4 set win to the Poms was within a point of happening but Andy's choice of a cross court return on a Hewitt second serve was painful to watch. There was enough room to drive his Porsche down the line but he did not pick the move by Groth. Tennis is easy in hindsight.
Inglot usually plays doubles with Lindstedt of Sweden, another brilliant doubles exponent and those two made the semi finals at the US Open this year losing to eventual winners Herbert and Mahut. They also won a lead up tournament to the US Open so the form was good. Jamie Murray's doubles form has never been questioned and he was part of the losing team in this year's US Open doubles final.
Davis Cup Captains however usually have a method to their madness and the British captain Leon Smith obviously had his reasons for going with the brother combination of the Murrays'.Experience is a big thing when playing for your country and Andy owns tonnes of it, doubles exponent or not.
The final against Belgium in November should be fascinating and I would love to see that played on a neutral surface also however chances are they will go with a clay court. Andy plays pretty well on anything though so good luck to Belgium if they think that the dirt may give them an advantage. I am tipping the Brits 3-1 with the final match to not be played.
Watched this space....