Leon Smith insists Britain can still find a way back against France
Unless Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot can beat strong French doubles pair Nicolas Mahut and Julien Benneteau, it will be the first time since 2009 that Britain have lost a Davis Cup tie after just three rubbers.
He said: “Obviously, it is tough losing two rubbers. Yes, we have had lots of good days and these ones don’t feel as good, that’s for sure.
“But there is always a way back and it would be wrong of us to say that is us lost. That is not the mentality that we have built up over the years.
“We are going to try to fight for it and hopefully Jamie and Dom can cause an upset tomorrow so we can at least take it into the final day and give ourselves a chances to fight again. We will dust ourselves down.”
Now, 17 months after Andy Murray helped lift the over-sized trophy, Britain’s challenge without him is in tatters at the quarter-final stage.
Both Dan Evans and Kyle Edmunds lost in straight sets today
Even if Britain can secure the doubles point, there was nothing about Evans’ performance against World No 68 Jeremy Chardy to suggest he is capable of doing anything against 17th-ranked Lucas Pouille in the fourth rubber tomorrow.
“It is almost a different sport when you cannot defend,” said Evans. “You have to try to be the aggressor. But all the advice is great – it is just a case of trying to put it into practice. It is something I am not used to yet so I just have to carry on and try to play on the surface.”
Evans had made no secret of his dislike for clay and proceeded to prove exactly why.
His 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 capitulation took just 1 hour 50 minutes and the only thing he took from the entire match was a code violation after punching his racket, having previously thrown it to the floor on an evening spent remonstrating with his team-mates as they sat watching helplessly on.
Chardy, a surprise inclusion ahead of the more experienced and higher-ranked Gilles Simon, justified Yannick Noah’s selection by brushing aside Evans by producing the sort of winners the Birmingham-based player felt was not within his repertoire on this surface.
Sun, July 10, 2016
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The world famous Wimbledon Championships 2016
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Andy Murray kisses the championship trophy following his win over Milos Raonic of Canada in the men's singles final of the Wimbledon Championships
In truth, more hope of keeping the overall tie level going into the doubles had been placed on the shoulders of Edmund.
The 22-year-old actually does like the clay and although his opponent Lucas Pouille is 30 ranking places above his own 47th in the world, there was a feeling the 23-year-old was there for the taking.
“I came out of the match and said ‘You gave it your best effort, it just wasn’t good enough today,’” said Edmund.
“And you want it to be good enough because that’s when it matters, is today.
“It is easy to look back and say where I could have done better, some points where I could have done better, some better choices and better execution, but when it counted I just didn’t get it done today.”
Crucially, Pouille played those big points better, racking up a 7-5, 7-6, 6-3 win in two hours and 11 minutes. He was also helped by the occasional friendly bounce on a court that is showing alarming signs of wear and tear with a weekend of tennis left to play.
But Edmund refused to use that as an excuse. “I just think that’s a clay court – it’s not a smooth surface, you’re going to get some dodgy bounces compared to a hard court.
“It’s obviously annoying at the time when you do get a bad bounce, but it does even itself up in general.”