Andy, you’ve always rated your Olympic triumph as arguably the favorite of your career. How does that compare having the whole team around you?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it’s obviously an amazing feeling. You know, I imagine it will take a few days before it really sinks in.
But, yeah, I mean, probably haven’t been as emotional as that after a match that I’ve won. I’ve been pretty upset having lost matches before. But I’d say that’s probably the most emotional I’ve been after a win.
It’s incredible that we managed to win this competition. I didn’t know that would ever be possible. It’s great.
Andy, since the summer, it seems like this has been what you’ve really set your heart on winning. At what stage of the year did you think that this was really, really possible?
ANDY MURRAY: I think after the France tie, to be honest. I think that was an incredibly tough match to win. They got four guys that are in the top 20 in the world pretty much. They obviously had Mahut that played the doubles. But Tsonga, Simon, Gasquet, Monfils. They have a great team with a lot of top players. They made the Final last year.
I think after we won that match, the match against Simon was incredibly tough mentally and physically for me. I found that match extremely difficult. Once we got through that, I really felt like we had a chance to do it.
Leon, you sat courtside and watched all of Andy’s wins this year. Where do you think his year in Davis Cup ranks in British sporting achievement?
CAPTAIN SMITH: Has to be one of the best achievements of all time. I mean, it’s incredible for all of us to watch how he’s managed to win that many rubbers, that many wins, especially when you look back at the tie in France and also the Australia match, obviously a lot of fatigue, managed to find a way through.
It was absolutely incredible, amazing.
Leon, other sports have been recognized for lesser achievements arguably than this one. When do you think it’s time for Britain to make its first British tennis knighthood and would the man to your left be a candidate?
JAMIE MURRAY: You’re up for that, aren’t you, Leon?
CAPTAIN SMITH: Me or him (smiling)?
Look, you’re asking the wrong guy because I hold Andy in the absolutely highest esteem. I can’t talk high enough about him. I could go on and on and talk for the next hour about him.
He’s just incredible. But he’ll be the first to say that this is a team effort, and rightly so. What he’s managed to do for this team is astonishing, to post that many wins in one year. He’s put his whole body, his whole mind on the line every single time for the team. Really it’s incredible. We’re all grateful and proud of him.
I know he’ll say it’s about the team, but we are really thankful for what he does.
Was it a late night last night, Andy, or did you manage to stay up for the boxing?
ANDY MURRAY: I did watch the boxing last night, yeah. I was in bed probably by 11:00. But, yeah, I managed to find a stream of the boxing online and I watched it, yeah.
Andy, how vital has Leon’s contribution been to the team over the last five years? Do you think he deserves a knighthood?
ANDY MURRAY: Look, I think everyone deserves one (laughter).
I mean, obviously since Leon has become captain, I think the results, you know, you don’t need to talk about it, you just look at the results and see where we’ve come from.
I remember speaking to Leon before he got the job. I was saying that now is a great time to have a young British team, British captain with young British coaches that love the game, that really want us to do well. It’s pretty much been the same team for the whole time. A few people have been added to as we’ve got further in the competition. But I think, you know, all of the staff have done genuinely an amazing job. The attention to detail is fantastic. Everyone has played a big part. And all of the other players, as well.
Leon is obviously responsible for bringing everybody together as a team and having everyone sort of, I don’t know, perform their roles as best they can. I think you’ve seen by the performances of like James in the match against the USA, even Kyle in the first match here, and all of the doubles rubbers this year. Even like before then, the match against Russia and stuff, which may not be talked about right now, but they’re very relevant, a match where James and Dan had big, big wins.
Yeah, Leon and his team are responsible for getting us to play at that level so consistently and deserve a lot of credit for that.
Leon, five years ago the British team played in Group II of the European African Zone. Did it look like ‘Mission Impossible’ to get to this stage or not?
CAPTAIN SMITH: Obviously at that point there was a long way to go. But we set about, as Andy just very well described there, just getting a really good team of people around that really cared about everybody in the team and wanted what’s best for them. Even lower divisions, might not have been the most glamorous of ties, but it was very important to start winning.
You went match by match, tie by tie, and tried for the whole team to get better at what we do together. Momentum was built and it came to some important ties. I think like the Slovakia tie, the Russia tie, started to get a bit more belief about the players. Yeah, it continued from there.
Obviously when we started to move towards World Group territory, it’s important to have the highest quality. Andy, when he comes into that, brings us that quality that suddenly became a reality.
Andy, what you and Leon have just said, can you describe your emotions on that winning point? It was the end of a very long, hard road for all of you.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, obviously it was a nice point to finish on. Yeah, you’re not thinking about loads. You can’t believe you’ve just won a major competition. That’s it basically. You know, you’re just thinking that, We just won. That was it. There’s no more to it than that.
It’s not like, you know, I’m thinking about the year as a whole. It’s literally just that moment there when you just hit the winning shot and won the match. Yeah, it’s nice that you get to see all of your team immediately afterwards, which isn’t always the case.
But, yeah, that was it. Nothing more than that.
Andy, how much does the sense of doing it for the country change that emotion, the pressure, expectation, and the unique circumstances of this type of crowd?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, it obviously does change things. I think the rest of the year when you’re playing, you don’t get atmospheres like that in any event that we play during the year except during Davis Cup. That’s what happens when you get your country involved, people become more passionate. I think that’s the same for all of the players, as well.
That’s why the level of play I think is so high. I think Goffin played a good match today. I think it was a good match today. I can’t remember loads about it. But most of the players play at an extremely high level and I think it is because there is a bit more passion there when you’re competing for your country.
You’re the first player in 20 years to win three live matches in a final. The last guy to do that was somebody as revered as Sampras. How did you feel out there? Was the adrenaline really flowing and keeping you going? Did you feel tired? What does it feel now to be in the same sentence as Pete Sampras?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, that’s obviously nice.
You know, like when I was out there, I mean, I was pumped the whole match, right from the beginning right through to the end. The crowd obviously helped with that. I didn’t really have any, I don’t think, lulls in my level. Maybe the game I got broken at the beginning of the third slightly.
But, yeah, I was just really, really pumped the whole match, really, really focused. Yeah, I just wanted to try and win that final point. Yeah, obviously to have won all of the singles matches I played this year is great. I’m glad I was able to help the team.
But, yeah, I knew a little bit about it because I’ve been asked. There’s only been I think two players that had won eight singles. I’d been asked about it. I didn’t know about that until coming into the tie. So to do that, you know, is obviously nice. It doesn’t happen too often. I’m proud of that, yeah.
Andy, pretty notable weekend for British sport. What does it mean to you to be a big part of that? Did staying up and watching the boxing inspire you a bit?
ANDY MURRAY: I always get a bit nervous watching boxing, especially watching heavyweights. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing for me to do last night.
Yeah, I’m obviously happy to be part of a great weekend of sport. But, yeah, I didn’t need any inspiration this weekend. I didn’t need that from a boxer or anything else. I think that’s the case for all of the team. This competition, winning the event for all of us was enough.
Andy, a question about the big four. You are the last member of the big four to win the Davis Cup. Is it a special feeling to win it after Nadal, Djokovic and Federer?
ANDY MURRAY: I haven’t thought about it like that. I think for all of the team it’s obviously great to have a Davis Cup next to our name. We’ll all remember this year for the rest of our lives, regardless of what happens in the rest of any of our careers. Nothing may ever top this now. Hopefully we can win it again next year or we can go on to win Grand Slams and Wimbledon or Olympics and stuff.
But, you know, this will definitely be the highlight, one of the highlights, of all of our careers. So we have to make sure we enjoy tonight and the next couple of days because I know how much hard work and effort goes into moments like this. You don’t want to let it pass by without enjoying it.
Andy, the passion that you showed was very moving there. Was it passion for the team triumph or was it very much passion for the country?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I don’t know. I think it’s a combination of everything really. Always when I’ve played Davis Cup, since the first time, when I was 17, it was a completely different team to now, I was unbelievably passionate, and I loved it. When I played doubles against Israel, I loved that. That hasn’t changed.
But also I know this team extremely well. Because we’ve been together for such a long time, there’s a stronger bond probably between us than there has been in the past. And I think all of the players, you know, get on with each other, respect each other. Yeah, a lot of us are close friends.
It means a lot to do it with them.
Jamie, where does this fit into your career now? What are your plans for celebrations with everyone?
JAMIE MURRAY: It’s huge for me. By far the biggest achievement in my career. I mean, I’ve had an amazing season. This is an unbelievable way to cap it off.
As for celebrations, I don’t know. I think we’re going to Nobu tomorrow night. That’s about it. That’s all I know.
Andy, a question about the fab four stopped playing Davis Cup or they don’t play so often after they won it. Do you face it as a problem for Davis Cup, the format should be changed to have all the best players all the time? Are you going to play Davis Cup matches all the time, or sometimes yes and sometimes no?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t mind the format. I think the format’s good. I just think the timing sometimes is what is difficult. You know, obviously immediately after the slams is tough, which is after Wimbledon this year, and also after the US Open. Also now you’re the last ones to finish in the year.
For me it isn’t so much the format because if you look at the ties we played this year, I mean, the atmosphere in every one of them has been I think exceptional. If you change the format, you lose that a little bit.
But I think that the timing is really what’s the issue because the players, they put so much effort into the Grand Slams, the Davis Cup comes immediately after them, you’re pretty tired at the end of the slams. Most of the top players are going right through to the end of the majors. Slams are stressful, they’re draining, physically and mentally. I think that’s where the issue is a little bit.
Wardy, what was it like backstage sort of not being able to walk it on court? Can you and Kyle put your personal highlights of this run, a five-year run?
JAMES WARD: Obviously I was waiting back in the locker room ready to play if needed. Thankful to Andy I wasn’t today.
Yeah, it’s always tough. You got to prepare like you’re going to play. You never know what could happen. Even when he was two sets up, I was still not wanting to go out in case he looked at me and snapped and thought, He thinks it’s over already. So, yeah, I left it till the last minute to come out.
Overall it’s been a long journey. I was there in the first tie with Leon in Eastbourne. Been pretty much present in every tie, which has been a great achievement for myself personally. But to be part of the team as well is an amazing feeling, something that is well-deserved for all of us.
Kyle, not many people make their debuts in a tie which brings the Davis Cup home. How have the last couple of days been? Do you think this will give you a boost going into next season as well?
KYLE EDMUND: Yeah, it’s been a really good experience for me, something that I’ll learn from. I’m still obviously young. This type of experience on the world stage, it can’t get any better. It can only be a positive for me. For me personally, for my match, so much stuff I can take away from it, so many positives I’ve learnt from it.
Yeah, going into next season it just reinforces what I need to work on, what I’m doing well, and it sets me up well for the start of the season.
Leon, what happens to you now? Are you going to stay on or negotiate a new contract for anything? What is your situation?
CAPTAIN SMITH: You should come with me to that meeting (smiling).
No, as Andy said, I think it’s really important to enjoy this moment right now. It is a very, very special moment for all of us. Yeah, we’ll just soak up the next couple of days as a team together, really enjoy it, then we’ll see what happens after that.
But it’s really not important. Just now what’s important is what’s been achieved. It’s monumental. I’m so proud of every single player and the staff that’s played a part. I really want to enjoy it and then we’ll figure it out after that.