Yeah, it is a pity that Murray isn't playing. Had he been, we could have started to prepare for September WG qualifying.
I find it a bit disappointing that he said our goal for 2012 should be to consolidate our position in Group I. He is correct in saying that this our true level, but my philosophy in life is always to aim high(er), and it is a shame that he doesn't share that attitude.
We did extremely well to beat Slovakia two months ago, but this tie represents another huge step up. The Belgian players are stronger on paper than Lacko and Klizan and, crucially, they are much classier
players - they can do a lot with the ball, whereas many of the young players of today are simply good at hitting ball after ball back into play, and not crafting the points.
Evans was almost able to outsmart Lacko and Klizan. He won't be able to do that in these singles matches. Rochus is a wily old fox, and is very tough to shake off. Darcis is a very talented player - his frequent struggles with injury have, arguably, prevented him from achieving much more (a regular top 50 position, for starters). Goffin has impressed me - not physically strong, but a precise striker of the ball.
The doubles match is the only rubber we have a very realistic chance of winning.
Ward's low level of confidence couldn't come at a worse time for him, against players of this calibre. Realistically, he will struggle to win a set in either singles imo, let alone a match.
Can Evans repeat his heroics? It is possible
. He'd be playing Rochus first, which is perhaps more beneficial. There is a 10-year age gap between the two of them, but what Evans lacks in experience, he might make up for in stamina over a long match. He'd certainly need to take one of the first two sets to have any chance.
A potential live 5th rubber against Darcis or Goffin could be interesting, especially as all three men have a history of bad nerves, and are not so reliable on serve (all have a tendency to serve multiple double faults). Either Belgian would be expected to win but, in his better form, Evans could offer a stern challenge imo (especially to Goffin).