Belgian top seed David Goffin opens against Edmund in final

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Members of the British Davis Cup team pose for the media following the draw on Thursday.
Members of the British Davis Cup team pose for the media following the draw on Thursday.

Ghent - Murray on the verge of ending another British drought

By Agencies

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Published: Thu 26 Nov 2015, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 27 Nov 2015, 10:57 AM

 Andy Murray ended a 77-year wait for a British man to win the Wimbledon title and Murray is on the verge of snapping an even longer drought when Britain play Belgium in the Davis Cup final this weekend.
The best-of-five series starts on Friday with Belgium's David Goffin playing Kyle Edmund, who will be making his Davis Cup debut in the final. Murray then plays Ruben Bemelmans, who was surprisingly picked over higher ranked Steve Darcis.
Captains can change their picks with Belgium's Johan van Herck indicating that he could take advantage of that option.
"The weekend will be long. I think we took the best decision and we'll see who will play Saturday and Sunday," van Herck said.
Britain is the only nation to have competed in all Davis Cup editions since 1900 and is seeking its 10th title, which would make the third most successful nation after the United States (32) and Australia (28). But the last time Britain won the Davis Cup was in 1936, when Fred Perry won the decisive match against Jack Crawford for a 3-2 win over Australia.
Incidentally, Perry won the Wimbledon singles title that year as well and no British man won the championship again until Murray in 2013. This is Britain's 18th appearance in the Davis Cup final. Only the United States (61) and Australia (47) have played more finals. Britain's last final was in 1978, when they lost 4-1 to the United States.
Belgium are bidding for their first title in their first final in 111 years - when they lost 5-0 to Britain at Wimbledon.
If Belgium win, it will be the 15th nation to lift the coveted trophy.
Britain's hopes clearly depend on Murray adjusting to clay after playing on a hard indoor surface in London two weeks ago at the ATP finals. Murray can become only the third player after John McEnroe in 1982 and Mats Wilander in 1983 to win all eight singles matches in a Davis Cup year since the introduction of the World Group in 1981.
Belgium, which played and won all three previous ties this year at home, logically picked clay as the surface in the Flanders Expo hall.
The weekend best-of-five tie comes amid heightened security following the Paris attacks and the Brussels lockdown. Thursday's draw was moved from a music hall to the match venue and a party has been cancelled. The British team delayed their arrival by a day, until Monday.
Subway transport and schools were shut in Brussels and sporting events cancelled while soldiers patrolled the streets because of fears of a Paris-style attack.
The hunt for suspects of the Paris attacks goes on in the Brussels area. Schools and the subway system reopened on Wednesday but the alert level will remain the same for the rest of the week.
Organisers have warned spectators coming to the 13,000-seat arena to take extra time in arriving because of time-consuming security checks. Bags will not be allowed into the arena.
The head of the International Tennis Federation, David Haggerty, has said he expects a full arena.
"We want to make sure the players are safe, fans are safe, staff, everybody that's here. I'm sure there have been cancellations but at the same time there are also people that are looking for tickets so it might be a chance for them to come. I think we'll have a full stadium of 13,000 screaming fans pulling for their team," Haggerty said this week. 

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