Why Andy Murray's Davis Cup Performance Is Important to His Legacy

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett@@merlisaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2015

The British Davis Cup team promotes a hashtag ahead of its Davis Cup match against Australia.
The British Davis Cup team promotes a hashtag ahead of its Davis Cup match against Australia.Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Andy Murray already delivered Great Britain one of its most memorable tennis victories in the last century when he won Wimbledon in 2013. This weekend, Murray has a chance to move one step closer to becoming the saint of British tennis.

Murray will lead Great Britain in the semifinals Davis Cup tie against Australia. The event will be played in Glasgow, Scotland, in front of a frenzied crowd of titled-starved tennis fans. It's the UK's first appearance in the semifinals since 1981

A win over the Aussies would give Great Britain a chance to play for its first Davis Cup title since 1936. It would also elevate Murray's already iconic status among British tennis fans. 

When Murray defeated Roger Federer in the 2012 Olympics, he became the first British man to win a gold medal in singles since 1908. A year later, he won Wimbledon, ending a 77-year drought for British men. 

If Murray can lead Great Britain to a Davis Cup title, he solidifies his stature in British tennis history even if he never wins another Grand Slam. He would have pulled off the British tennis holy trinity: Wimbledon, Olympic gold and Davis Cup championship. 

Murray spoke with Kheredine Idessane of BBC Scotland about how much he enjoys playing for his country: "I've always enjoyed representing my country. It inspires me. My results have been more consistent than on the main tour."

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With both of last year's finalists, Switzerland and France, out of the competition and powerhouses Serbia and Spain home, too, this is the best shot the Brits have had in years.  

Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Speaking to Piers Newbery of BBC Sport ahead of the match, Murray talked about the anticipation and expectations surrounding the tie: "It's a big occasion for sure. Everyone views this as a big opportunity."

It won't be easy. They take on the Australians, winners of 28 Davis Cup titles, second only to the U.S. (32). The Australians' last Davis Cup title came in 2003 when a young Lleyton Hewitt led the team over the Switzerland team, which featured Roger Federer.

Now nearing retirement, Hewitt will try to play spoiler in Glasgow. It's been 12 years since the Aussies have hoisted the Davis Cup trophy. Considering the legacy Rod Laver built, that's a serious drought.

But don't talk dry spells to Brits, who suffered for 77 years for someone to come along and win Wimbledon.

Enter Murray, the rainmaker. 

Murray first faces off against Thanasi Kokkinakis, his friend and practice partner. Dan Evans, Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot make up the rest of the team.

The British arrived in the semifinals with wins over the U.S and France. They steamrollered the Americans 3-1 in Glasgow. 

Then the British took out the formidable French team that included Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon. 

Murray played in three rubbers, emerging victorious in each. He defeated Tsonga and Simon in singles. He also teamed with older brother Jamie to defeat Tsonga and Nicolas Mahut in doubles.

It was the sort of stuff that creates legends. 

Jamie was prepared to play with whomever captain Leon Smith paired him with. He told CNN's Gary Morley"I didn't care who played as along as we won the match. ... But to go out there with your brother and play for your country, and having Leon on the bench who has been part of our careers from a young age, it was really special. It was a magic day."

Andy's relationship with the Davis Cup team wasn't always so magical. In 2008, Jamie publicly criticized Andy for his absence from Davis Cup, via the Daily Mail's Mike Dickson. He even implied that Andy was faking a knee injury to avoid playing for his country. 

"I think it's disappointing that he chose not to come," Jamie told Dickson. "It was a shock to me, and for the team it's very disappointing. I wasn't aware he had a problem. I last spoke to him in Australia just before he left."

Those days of discord appear distant memories. Andy Murray's getting nothing but love in Glasgow. 

When they played the Davis Cup match in Scotland against the U.S. in March, the fans went nuts. Andy told Newbery that he hopes for more of the same in the 8,000-seat arena.

When we played here in March it was great, and I expect the same again this weekend," Andy said. "I would imagine it will be even better."