Date: 16 Sep - 18 Sep 2011
Venue: Braehead Arena, Glasgow
Day 1: 1500 hrs (1400 hrs local time)
Day 2: 1400 hrs (1300 hrs local time)
Day 3: 1300 hrs (1200 hrs local time)
Surface: Hard (Acrylic), Indoor
Ball: Wilson US Open
09-10-2011, 03:04 PM
Possibly the first time I'm in total agreement with the GB captain. :D
I think that for the foreseeable future Team GB needs to gamble on a strategy of two specialist singles players and a specialist doubles duo.
Singles - obviously we'd be hoping that Muzza will play more ties in the future and, assuming we win promotion next weekend, it would be in his interest to play more anyway (Group I singles would be more competitive for him). Ward has set himself clearly above the rest of the Britons, and should be automatically selected unless his position is under clear threat.
Doubles - always nervy to rely on a specialist doubles duo, especially when neither guy could realistically win a live singles if called upon. However, if they can combat nerves, Fleming and Hutchins are not a bad partnership, and they proved that at the US Open. I'm a little bit concerned about their returning, but they can serve and attack well.
As much as I think Jamie Murray is a good bloke, I have been unimpressed by his game over the last few years and it was the correct decision to leave him out of this tie (and hopefully future ones unless he improves drastically). He was terrible against Tunisia, and there are several clear weaknesses in his game that can be too easily exploited.
The preferred approach would be to have two specialist singles players, a specalist doubles player and a wildcard player capable of playing either discipline (e.g. a Goodall), but unfortunately our current extreme lack of depth will prevent us from selecting such a squad for at least the next few years. Here's hoping that Golding, Morgan, Broady etc will translate their extraordinary success from juniors onto the pro tour.
Team GB won the tie 5-0, and are back into Group I (our true level imo). :D Well done chaps! :bigclap:
As we will no doubt be unseeded in the draw on Wednesday, my assumption is that we will be playing again at the beginning of February, against a similar-level team like Finland, Slovak Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina/Denmark. Maybe Portugal and Slovenia could also be in the mix, but hopefully not as the other three would be more winnable.
The second round would be very tricky, but these are the ties we want to be playing again. Any of Israel, Netherlands, Romania, South Africa and Belgium would be the likely opponents. Switzerland could also feature in the very unlikely event that Wawrinka has a shocker when he tries to finish off Hewitt tonight.
We have a nice team at the moment, and the hope is that certainly the other guys (apart from Muzza) could continue to work on improving their games and conditioning. Ward has proved to be very useful in singles over the last 12-18 months, and he should find Group I to be a useful challenge. The matches will be tougher, but certainly he is capable of playing a winning part in some of the upcoming ties. Hutchins and Fleming are a nice partnership, and hopefully they will be able to pick off some of the teams without particular doubles talent. Obviously we are reliant on Muzza, but the hope is that he will be more interested to play now that we will be playing tougher opposition. There is no reason why he shouldn't fancy matches against the likes of Haase, Anderson, and maybe the Portuguese, as long as such ties fit reasonably within his schedule.
Should be fun!
09-18-2011, 09:09 PM
GB has a better overall team than a few WG teams and if they avoid the Netherlands and Romania, I think they will at least make the WG qualifying stage next year. That's all based on Murray playing the ties, of course.