Belgium prepare to face Great Britain in the Davis Cup final

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Belgians David Goffin and Steve Darcis look ahead to their Davis Cup final against Great Britain

Belgium prepare to face Great Britain in the Davis Cup final

SHOWS: GHENT, BELGIUM (NOVEMBER 24, 2015) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BELGIUM DAVIS CUP CAPTAIN VAN HERCK SAYING:

“I think it is the end of the year, everybody played a lot of matches, so I don’t think playing these last matches at the end of the year will give them an advantage. I think a good preparation on clay is also important, so I don’t really think it gives them an advantage.”

2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BELGIAN PLAYER DAVID GOFFIN SAYING:

“The day I played Andy in Bercy it was a day off for me. I didn’t play really well but Andy was really aggressive, he played an unbelievable match there. But it’s other conditions here, it’s a completely different match, another surface. I just have to forget this match and think about the matches of this weekend.”

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BELGIAN PLAYER STEVE DARCIS SAYING:

“I feel really good now, I mean I could end the year very early so I could rest very good and I have been practising on clay since three weeks now. So, I have to say I feel really good.”

STORY: Belgium are preparing to face Great Britain in the Davis Cup final on clay this weekend in Ghent where victory for the Belgians would be a big boost for the nation.

The hosts are through to their first final in 111 years, a remarkable achievement in itself for a team that has only twice reached the last four since the World Group was introduced in 1981, but their landmark run comes at a time when Belgium has dominated the headlines for other reasons.

A successful showing in the final this weekend would not only bring welcome light relief to the country, but cap a superb year for captain Johan van Herck’s team in a campaign that has seen them defeat defending champions Switzerland, Canada and four-time finalist Argentina.

Belgium will face strong opposition from Great Britain, who are attempting to win the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years.

World number two Andy Murray and his brother Jamie have propelled Britain through the draw, with twice grand slam champion Andy churning out vital singles wins and teaming up with his elder sibling in the doubles.

That is likely to be the scenario again at the Flanders Expo, beginning on Friday (November 27), where despite 13,000 home fans trying to cheer Belgium to their first ever Davis Cup, Britain will start favourites.

But van Herck doesn’t think Britain will have an advantage over his side.

“I think it is the end of the year, everybody played a lot of matches, so I don’t think playing these last matches at the end of the year will give them an advantage. I think a good preparation on clay is also important, so I don’t really think it gives them an advantage.”

Belgium’s hopes of becoming the 15th nation to win the Davis Cup could rest on their number one player, David Goffin, and number two Steve Darcis.

Goffin, ranked 16 in the world, has won 11 of the 13 Davis Cup singles rubbers he has contested. But although he was beaten by Andy Murray in Paris last month, he is confident of performing well this weekend.

“The day I played Andy in Bercy it was a day off for me. I didn’t play really well but Andy was really aggressive, he played an unbelievable match there. But it’s other conditions here, it’s a completely different match, another surface. I just have to forget this match and think about the matches of this weekend.”

Darcis, who has won four decisive fifth rubbers for his nation in the Davis Cup, insists he is ready to face Britain after cutting his season short following an ankle injury.

“I feel really good now, I mean I could end the year very early so I could rest very good and I have been practising on clay since three weeks now. So, I have to say I feel really good,” said Darcis.

Goffin will likely be up against Britain’s 100th-ranked debutant Kyle Edmund in the opening match — a must win rubber for the hosts.

Murray is likely to play Darcis, who won the fifth rubber in the semi-final against Argentina, although captain Johan Van Herck could save him for what could be a potential title-decider in Sunday’s reverse singles.

Tags : final, Davis, britain, great, face, prepare, belgium

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