Davis Cup Finals: Great Britain can make nation ‘proud’, says captain Leon Smith

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Leon Smith, Andy Murray and Dan Evans
Leon Smith (centre) will captain a British team featuring three top-50 ranked singles players
Davis Cup Finals 2022
Group stage venues: Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Valencia Dates: 13-18 September

Great Britain have a chance to make the nation proud at the Davis Cup Finals following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, says team captain Leon Smith.

The British team begin their group-stage campaign against the United States in Glasgow on Wednesday.

A minute’s silence will be held at the start of each day’s play as a mark of respect to Her Majesty.

“It’s been a very difficult week for our nation. It’s been a very sad and a very poignant moment,” said Smith.

Although some sporting events have been cancelled in the period of national mourning, the Lawn Tennis Association said it believed that “sport has an important role to play in bringing the country and communities together, not least in difficult times”.

Smith echoed those sentiments, saying: “Obviously we’ve seen what’s happened with the other sports, whether it’s with cancellations or postponements, but I think it’s an occasion where we can put on something special.”

GB will face the USA, the Netherlands and Kazakhstan in Group D for a place in the November Finals in Malaga.

Glasgow’s Emirates Arena will host all six matches in Britain’s group from 13-18 September.

In addition to a minute’s silence being held, the British team of Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Andy Murray, Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski will wear black armbands or ribbons, and the national anthem will be played.

“I think a lot of fans would like to come together at this time. Everyone will have their personal choice,” said Smith.

“As hosts, I think it will be done very well, very respectfully and it will be a positive tribute that we can provide both as an event but also representing Great Britain.

“It’s an opportunity for us to go and do something proud for our nation again.”

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Britain, Davis Cup quarter-finalists last year, have won the event 10 times.

They most recently did so in 2015 when three-time major champion Murray helped end a 79-year wait for a 10th title.

GB have four players ranked inside the world’s top 50 in singles, but only three are in Leon Smith’s squad for the men’s team event, with Jack Draper absent after picking up an injury during the US Open.

Wimbledon semi-finalist Norrie is up to eighth in the rankings, with Evans 25th and Murray 43rd, while Salisbury and Skupski are ranked first and third respectively in the men’s doubles standings.

Salisbury and American partner Rajeev Ram defeated Skupski and Dutchman Wesley Koolhof in the US Open final last week, and both could face their respective team-mates in the group stages.

How does the Davis Cup work?
Described as the ‘World Cup of tennis’, 148 nations entered the 2022 Davis Cup before qualifiers took place earlier this year.

This week 16 nations will aim to qualify for the Finals – being held in Malaga from 22 to 27 November – by finishing in the top two places in their group.

Each nation plays two singles matches and one doubles against their group opponents in a best-of-three sets format. As well as Glasgow, the other host cities for the group stage are Bologna, Hamburg and Valencia.

Malaga will then host the quarter-final stages onwards over a six-day conclusion to the competition.

After beginning against the USA – who have lost Frances Tiafoe following his run to the US Open semi-finals – on Wednesday (16:00 BST), GB play the Netherlands on Friday (15:00) before finishing their campaign against Kazakhstan on Sunday (14:00).

Elsewhere, US Open men’s champion Carlos Alcaraz is set to represent Spain.

However, Spain’s Group B opponents Serbia will be without 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, who has withdrawn.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev will no longer make his return from the injury he sustained at the French Open after a setback in his recovery.

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