Davis Cup

11/26/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/26/2021 10:05

Norrie: I've had a great year, now I want Davis Cup success

Not too long ago, the thought of Great Britain heading into a Davis Cup tie without either of the Murray brothers would raise serious questions about their prospects of success. That is no longer the case.

It is the first time since April 2013 and a showdown with Russia in Coventry that Great Britain are shorn of the services of both Andy and Jamie Murray, although all is far from lost.

On the eve of their opening Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2021 tie against France in Innsbruck, captain Leon Smith has a tasty line-up at his disposal. Within the Great Britain camp are two singles players ranked among the world's best and a two-time Grand Slam doubles champion.

Smith has the luxury of calling upon the in-form Cameron Norrie, who boasts a career-high ranking of No. 12, while Dan Evans is not far off his own personal best at No. 25. Doubles specialist Joe Salisbury, meanwhile, is fresh from his latest Grand Slam triumph at the US Open in September.

"Andy and Jamie have been mainstays in the team because they've been at the top of the game for a very long time," said Smith. "They would have deserved to be in those teams and they both played a big part in 2015 when we won the Davis Cup.

"But what is really pleasing is when you look at the group of guys we have here, they are all at or near career-high rankings, all operating at a high level and all deserve to be here.

"In the past, if Andy was not playing, the rankings of the other players might not be inside the top 100, maybe not inside the top 200. It is a privilege to be able to select this group and I'm excited to be around them. They also have a lot of years left, which is really important."

Having started the year ranked No. 74, Norrie has enjoyed a stunning season which has seen him claim two titles - most recently at Indian Wells in October - reach six finals, win 50 matches and qualify for the ATP Finals.

The 26-year-old, who has contested just two ties since his 2018 debut, now has designs on leading Great Britain's charge as they bid to replicate their 2015 success, when they ended a 79-year wait for Davis Cup silverware.

"That is the goal at the end of the day to win it," said Norrie. "There is a long way to go but we're looking forward to getting out there and trying to repeat what was achieved in 2015. But there is a lot of tennis to be played and some tough moments to come.

"It has been a long year with a lot of matches, but to come together as a team and play for your country is a good feeling. I have really enjoyed the week and it has been a lot of fun. Now I want to put the same level on court that I have all year.

"I have been preparing well and I played Casper [Ruud] and [Novak] Djokovic last week in Turin, so I have some good matches under my belt recently. It is going to be a great end to the year here and we all want to end things on a high note."

Together with Neal Skupski, Evans was a member of the Great Britain team that reached the semi-finals of the inaugural edition of the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid in 2019, when they succumbed to Spain.

The 31-year-old described the atmosphere within Caja Magica two years ago, during his nation's doubles showdown with Rafael Nadal and Feliciano Lopez, as the best he has witnessed on a tennis court. He echoes Norrie's sentiments about the spirit within the Great Britain camp.

"Before we came, Leon made it clear to us that it would not be a stressful build-up and it would be a lot of fun," said Evans.

"This week is all about the team, teamwork, having fun and everybody pitching in. Broads [Liam Broady] has made lots of drinks and peeled a lot of oranges. I mean, I wouldn't normally spend a week with Broads, but I have to this week.

"No, I'm joking. I love this week. It's not about rankings or anything like that, it's about us all pitching in. It is one of my favourite weeks and I'm looking forward to it."

Following their opening fixture of the Finals against Sebastien Grosjean's France, Great Britain face Czech Republic on Sunday. France currently top Group C after their 2-1 victory over Czech Republic and can seal a quarter-final place with victory against Great Britain.