Great Britain’s Davis Cup Finals campaign opened in disappointing fashion with a 2-1 defeat to the USA in Group D in Glasgow.
Either side of Cameron Norrie‘s three-set win over Taylor Fritz, Dan Evans went down to Tommy Paul before Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury lost their doubles decider with Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock.
Evans and Paul opened proceedings at the Emirates Arena in a tightly-fought battle which the American ultimately prevailed in 6-4 4-6 6-4, leaving Norrie with a job to do against Fritz.
The Wimbledon semi-finalist started on the back foot in match two and quickly ceded the first set to Fritz – racking up 12 unforced errors in total – but he improved his game in the latter stages.
Despite roaring into a 3-0 lead in the second set, Norrie was swiftly broken back courtesy of another unforced error, but he managed to level the match courtesy of a second-set tie-break.
Having fended off several break points throughout the contest, the Brit would only need the one break to go his way in the deciding set – moving into a 6-5 lead before prevailing 2-6 7-6 7-5 and setting up a grandstand doubles finale.
The clock had struck 10pm by the time Murray, Salisbury, Ram and Sock made it out onto the court, but the Brits would storm into an early 3-0 lead in front of the home crowd before ceding three games on the bounce.
Murray and Salisbury eventually got over the line in the first set following a plethora of deuces – six to be exact – but they could not build on a 3-1 second-set lead as the American pair levelled the match.
With the scorecard at 5-5 in the final set, former doubles world number two Sock upped the ante with a series of powerful shots to clinch a 5-7 6-4 7-5 win for the Americans and a 2-1 victory in the best-of-three contest.
By the time the doubles encounter had finished, the time was nearly 1am in Glasgow, and Murray did not hide his feelings towards the organisers during his early-morning press conference.
“It would be better if they were earlier I think for everyone involved, I don’t think it’s ideal for [the media]. I don’t think it’s ideal for the fans. There’s probably half of the people in there at the end of the match that were there at the beginning. It’s a bit of a shame because, well, they missed a great match,” The Telegraph quotes Murray as saying.
“For the ballkids and things like that, it’s inappropriate. Yeah, the players are still able to go out and compete. But it’s not ideal for the US team to come back and play tomorrow… It’s not ideal.
“It’s not just here, obviously. We’ve seen it at the US Open even just last week. It’s something that tennis needs to sort of have a bit of a think about. I don’t think it looks that professional.”
Great Britain are next in action in Group D on Friday against the Netherlands, who overcame Kazakhstan 2-1 in their opening tie to sit at the top of the standings.