Murray can take GB into semi-final

Andy Murray during a 6-1 6-2 6-3 victory over Donald Young in the Davis Cup
Andy Murray during a 6-1 6-2 6-3 victory over Donald Young in the Davis Cup
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Britain may have achieved an historic Davis Cup triumph by beating the USA.

But the new head of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) believes Andy Murray can take the team to even greater heights.

Mike Downey, who has only been in the job a month after moving from Tennis 
Canada, is confident Britain can beat Italy in the quarter-finals.

It is the first time since 1986 that Britain have reached the last eight, and the first time they have beaten the USA since 1935.

Downey said: “We have a good chance in Italy especially with Andy playing – and playing so well – as it helps raise the game of the other players.

“Andy played so well on Friday and that gave emphasis to Ward’s game, and he stepped up.

“What we want now is a long run in the World group, the top 16 countries, where the stakes are higher, and where the great tennis nations continue to be.”

After years in the wilderness of the Euro-African group II, from a nadir in 2010 when Britain lost to Lithuania, Britain are now at vertigo-inducing heights.

Downey believes the success can be harnessed to the campaign to boost participation after some stagnant years which has seen the LTA lose a considerable chunk of funding.

Downey, 56, added: “From my experience in Canada I think success at Davis Cup and women’s Fed Cup is very important to the health of the sport in the country.

“It becomes ‘water cooler talk’ because it’s about motivation, pride and the country doing well, and tennis is getting far more coverage today than it normally would and it will again when we play Italy.