It was a painful exit from the Davis Cup for Great Britain as they went down to Spain, but captain Leon Smith is predicting a “really positive 2020” for his team.
Team GB lost their semi-final 2-1 against Spain at Caja Magica on Saturday with the hosts winning the decisive doubles rubber through world No 1 Rafael Nadal and Feliciano Lopez.
Kyle Edmund initially gave Great Britain the lead when he beat Lopez 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in the opening rubber, but Nadal drew his team level as he saw off Dan Evans 6-4, 6-0.
It came down to the doubles and Nadal and Lopez prevailled 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (10-8) against Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski.
— Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals (@DavisCupFinals) November 24, 2019
It was a tough loss for Murray and Skupski as there were no breaks of serve and they came close to taking it to a decider as they had a set point in the 13th game of the second set and three more set points in the tie-breaker.
“The emotion is still raw,” Smith told BBC Sport. “You’re within a couple of points of going into a deciding third set and then it’s game on. There was nothing in it. I’m proud of all of them.
“We’re hurting, but we’ve seen an amazing tie here against Spain, who are arguably the strongest team in the competition, especially with Rafa in it.
“We’ve pushed them within a couple of points to a deciding set to see who goes into the final.
“To reach semi-finals is a brilliant achievement, we have come through tough matches and tough moments.
“Everyone has stepped up and we’ll look back proudly on this.”
It was nevertheless a great week for Team GB as Andy Murray made a return to the squad after his lengthy injury absence while Edmund won all three of his singles rubbers.
Jamie Murray and Skupski have been an exciting doubles pairing while Cameron Norrie and Joe Salisbury were not part of the set up in Madrid, but are waiting in the wings.
“I look forward to a really positive 2020,” Smith said.
He added: “Everyone’s got their different journey to go on, but I think we should be excited by what we have in British tennis.
“We’ve got so many different things going. I think it’s great, it’s positive.
“Hopefully everyone can just keep on that path and we come back here next year with an even stronger team than the strong team we have already got.”
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