The 2015 Davis Cup will be decided this Sunday in an unlikely final between the Belgians and the British. Both teams have one star and nobody else ranked within the top 100 in the world. It is a relatively even match, except that the British star (Andy Murray) is a battle tested, major champion world-beater, while the young Belgian star (David Goffin) simply shows that he has that potential. While they have only met twice, with both matches having been won by Murray, this match has the potential to be far more interesting than it looks to be on paper.
Murray has 4 inches and 35 pounds on Goffin. He also has an Olympic gold medal, two grand slams, and 35 titles, compared to Goffin’s 2 titles. Murray also crushed Goffin just weeks ago in straight sets in Paris. All of this makes it look like this match should be lopsided, but, not so fast.
The Davis Cup is about so much more than just a singles match. Rather than facing off against the guy across the net, they are facing off against a nation, with the support and expectations of their own country riding on their shoulders. It is about rising to the occasion, and who can better harness the magnitude of the moment to find their best tennis. David Goffin may be younger, smaller and less experienced than Murray, but don’t look for him to shy away in the moment. He has the support of a nation that, a year ago, had no expectation of Davis Cup success. He also has nothing to lose. He can swing free knowing that nobody expects him to topple Murray, especially on such an international stage.
Murray, on the other hand, has an opportunity Saturday to win the doubles point with his brother, and set himself up to give the victory to the Brits, with all 3 points coming from his racket. While he, and millions of others, expect this to happen, he is playing under infinitely more pressure than Goffin. It is a very interesting dynamic, and one that would be impossible to predict. If Murray brings his best stuff for the rest of the weekend, then Goffin and the Belgian’s are in for some trouble.
That’s why sports are played, though. We just don’t know until it’s over. Lucky for us fans, it oughta’ be a great weekend.