Andy Murray pledges to continue without fear in Davis Cup final

Andy Murray said he is determined to prepare normally for Great Britain’s Davis Cup final at the end of the month in Belgium, where several arrests have been made since the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday.

“Everybody right now is concerned about things,” the world No2 said after beating David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4 on the second day of the ATP World Tour Finals, where security has been tightened considerably since Sunday.

He added: “But I do think the best thing that we can do is to live our normal lives, not change too much, because then the terrorists are the ones that are winning. We need to go out there and do what we always do.

“That’s all we can do. I don’t want to live my life in fear each time I step on a tennis court. So that’s what I’ll do.”

Great Britain’s captain, Leon Smith, announces his team on Tuesday for the final against Belgium in the 14,000-seater Flanders Expo in Ghent, starting on 28 November, only five days after the final here. French and Belgian security forces have trained most of their inquiries on the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, about 35 miles from the Davis Cup venue.

Murray described the events in Paris as “something very difficult to talk about without knowing all of the information”, but added: “All of sport [has recognised] that it’s a terrible tragedy. Everyone was very upset by it. Hopefully everyone can come together and try and sort it out.”

Great Britain’s squad go to Ghent attempting to win the competition for the first time since 1936 – and two contenders for the second singles spot, Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans, did their chances no harm at the weekend.

Edmund beat the world No127 Carlos Berlocq 6-0, 6-4 in the final of a Challenger on clay in Buenos Aires on Sunday – with Smith watching – and moved up 11 places to 99 in the world. Evans, ranked 185, beat the rising American teenager Frances Tiafoe 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 to win a Challenger in Knoxville on the same day.

“They both did great,” Murray said. “James [Ward] won a couple of weeks ago in India, as well. It’s a good position to be in. It’s kind of the same position as the Belgians. They have three guys that are capable of playing the second singles, as well, with Steve Darcis and Kimmer Coppejans probably being the better clay-court players, but Ruben Bemelmans has a slightly different game style.

“So, it’s not just Leon that has some decisions to make but it’s better to have players that are coming in on form, which wasn’t the case really in the last tie. I think that’s what made things tough for Leon [before the semi-final win over Australia in Glasgow].”

Aljaz Bedene will learn just before the team are announced if the ITF has granted his appeal to become eligible for his adopted country, despite having already played in the Davis Cup for Slovenia. Murray, who practised on shale at Queen’s last week with Bedene, supports his bid and hinted strongly for the first time he would like him in the team.

“If this decision was made, like, seven months ago, we wouldn’t even be having the discussion. It isn’t his fault that it’s taken such a long time – or that it’s 10 days before the Davis Cup final. If he wins his appeal and is able to play then, if I’m the captain, I’m picking my strongest team to try and win. But that’s Leon’s decision. That’s what he’s paid to do.

“I’m sure he’ll make the right one and give us the best chance to win. But, I mean, Bedene may not win his appeal.”

As for Murray’s outing on the hard court of the O2 – a surface slower than might have been expected – he was pleased, but with qualifications.

“The first couple of games my timing was a little bit off. But I got it back pretty quickly, which was pleasing. He’s also a guy who makes you hit a lot of balls. The rallies are often quite long, so you can get into a rhythm against him. So that was good.

“He served a bunch of double-faults, which helped but I could have returned a bit better. The ball’s coming through a little bit quicker and slightly lower than on the clay. That was the one thing I think I could have done better.”

Ferrer, whose own game fell to bits under pressure, especially his serve, reckoned Murray would handle the transition without any major concerns.

“He’s playing good,” said the Spaniard, whose press conferences often tend to be about his opponent rather than himself, so self-effacing is he. “He reached the Paris final last week. He is No2 of the world. He’s playing with confidence. Also he’s in the final of the Davis Cup where he will be playing the three matches. He has a very good chance to win his first Davis Cup. He’s having one of the best seasons of his career, for sure.”

In the evening match, the French Open champion Stan Wawrinka capitulated in desultory fashion as Rafael Nadal opened his account with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 win in just 93 minutes, echoing the low-key start to last year’s tournament when the world’s best players seemed incapable of extending any match to three sets.

Powered by article was written by Kevin Mitchell at the O2 Arena, for The Guardian on Monday 16th November 2015 21.54 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010