Davis Cup Finals 2023: Great Britain get set for tough challenge against Serbia in the quarter-finals
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The stage is set for the Lexus Great Britain Davis Cup team as they prepare for a tough test in their quarter-final tie against Serbia at Malaga’s Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena.
After weeks of build-up, team changes and several days training together out in Spain, the British squad, led by Cam Norrie, Jack Draper, Liam Broady, Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury, are ready to get their campaign underway.
The Brits are just three wins away from clinching their first title since 2015, but will have to do it the hard way, starting with a tie against a Serbian team led by world No.1 and 24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, fresh off the back of being crowned Nitto ATP Finals champion.
Ahead of the tie – which gets underway not before 15:00 GMT on Thursday 23 November – we caught up with the team to get their thoughts and feelings ahead of what could be, a historic week.
“We’ve played a lot of different matches and a lot of ties over the past few years, and I think we have a really special group of players and support team and we always look forward to coming here,” said British No.1 Norrie.
“It’s different to the other weeks on the tour – you can bounce ideas off different members of the team so it’s always really special. You’re competing for your country and not just yourself and it’s always special to be selected and to go out and play for your country.
“I’ve had a much needed rest (before Davis Cup), it was really nice to just chill. I was just more excited to get back in practice and hitting the ball. I feel more rested and I tried to prioritise this event over Paris and I think it’s the perfect way to end the year.
In an interview with the ITF, Norrie also added: “For me, it’s clear who I’m going to be playing. I think I just need to go out there and be myself. He’s had an unbelievable year of course and is in huge form. He looked very fresh compared to other players at the ATP Tour Finals and the way he’s serving is unbelievable.
“There’s no greater challenge in tennis at the moment, but I’ve been preparing as well as I can. I need to play the big points well and on my terms.
“I think it’s an interesting one – the Davis Cup is a lot of hype, a lot of fans and it’s a different kind of pressure, which I think will work in our favour.”
One player who has only recently had a taste of what it’s like to play for and represent your country is 21-year-old Draper, making his debut with a win over Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Group Stages in Manchester.
The young Brit has enjoyed a brilliant end to the season, clinching the title at the Bergamo Challenger and making his first ATP final in Sofia, and hopes to bring that same energy and level to what promises to be a challenging week in Malaga,
“To be able to do it in Manchester (make his debut), looking back at it was way better for me,” Draper said.
“To do it in front of 13,000 people, at home, obviously playing a very important match and hearing my name alongside the other guys coming out that day was amazing. I’m very privileged and proud to play for my country.
“It’s very different in Davis Cup, you’ve always got the other players supporting you – Cam, Andy, Dan, Liam, etc – so there are lots of guys around you doing everything they can to keep you focused on the match and help you win ultimately. It’s amazing to be part of that team environment and something I’m looking forward to for the next however long.”
28-year-old Broady received a late call-up to join the team last week after former world No.1 and Davis Cup champion Andy Murray was forced to pull out with a shoulder injury. He’s one of two players missing from the team that qualified in Manchester, with Dan Evans’ injury in Vienna paving way for Salisbury to join the squad.
While it wasn’t the circumstances he would have wanted, Broady committed to playing his role in the teams success this week.
“It’s tough obviously because I don’t want Andy to be injured, I want him to play,” Broady said in the lead up to Thursday’s match. “He gives us the best chance to win.
“I was in France, minding my own business playing some club matches but when Leon called and said this is what’s happening, can you make it, I did my best to sort everything out and get over here as quickly as I could.
“It’s always a privilege to be at the Davis Cup, never mind play it so I think you have to take every opportunity you can. The coaching staff and everyone behind-the-scenes are some of the best in the world so it’s just great to get on court with them and draw knowledge from them.”