Andy Murray collected his 41st Davis Cup by Rakuten match win for Great Britain, and his first since 2019, with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Kazakhstan’s Dmitry Popko in front of a packed crowd at the Emirates Arena.
The former world No.1 recovered from a slow start to grind out victory against the world No.227, playing just his seventh Davis Cup match, to kick off the final encounter of the Group Stage in Glasgow.
And the Scot admitted the idea this may be his last Davis Cup appearance in the city of his birth dawned on him late in the match, making for an emotional finale as he closed in on the win.
“I’ve loved playing Davis Cup – it’s different to anything we experience on tour,” Murray said on court in the wake of his 51st match in the competition.
“It was not the result that me or any of the team wanted this week – we were super-close in all the matches, and it really could have gone either way. Today was not easy for us as a team as we had high expectations, but it’s amazing to play again in front of this crowd.
“I’ve had a brilliant week and really enjoyed it. Hopefully we get another opportunity to play here in the future, and hopefully I’m still in a position to get selected, but it’s not getting any easier.”
Hopefully we get another opportunity to play here, and hopefully I’m still in a position to get selected - but it’s not getting any easier
Playing for third place in Group D with Netherlands and USA having already qualified for the Final 8 in Malaga, both sides made singles changes from their two previous ties, Murray replacing Dan Evans for Great Britain’s opener, while Popko came in for Mikhail Kukushkin.
Alexander Bublik collected an impressive 6-4, 6-3 victory over world No.8 Cameron Norrie to level the tie heading into the doubles, where the Kazakh No.1 partnered Aleksandr Nedovyesov, losing 7-6(2), 6-7(9), 7-6(4) to Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski, the doubles world No.1 and No.3, in an intense contest to round out the tie.
Popko has been ranked as high as No.162 in the world, but it goes without saying that falls some way short of Murray’s career best. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old came to play from the outset, nabbing an early break with Murray slow to get out of the blocks and trying to be too cute at times.
The three-time Grand Slam champion, who led his Great Britain to the 2015 title, soon warmed to the task, ramping up the aggression after seeing little joy in the extended rallies that almost saw him slip a second break down at 3-1.
Reprieved, he broke back in the next game to level at 3-3, and with that the tenor of the contest changed. Murray seized the momentum, and an early break at the start of the second set all but settled the contest, before the Glasgow-born Briton closed out the final two games.
Maybe that's the last time I play here, or get to play for Britain in front of a crowd like that. I'm glad I got out there and played today. They did make it special
“I'm glad I was able to get out there and play in front of them,” Murray said. “Maybe that's the last time I play here, or get to play for Britain in front of a crowd like that. I'm glad I got out there and played today. They did make it special.
“If it is the last time, like, it's been amazing what they've done for our team. I've spoken to my mum about it in the past. She never would have imagined that we would be playing Davis Cup rubbers in front of packed 7,500, 8,000 people, whatever the capacity is here.
“The crowd in a lot of our matches has made a big difference. They've been some of the best memories I've had on a tennis court. I'm sad that we might not get the opportunity to play here again, but we also might be back here in February potentially. We'll just have to wait and see.”