James Ward’s relishing team spirit of Davis Cup after historic victory over USA
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images
Camden’s James Ward says he enjoys the team spirit of Davis Cup tennis after playing a heroic role in Great Britain’s historic victory over the USA at the weekend.
Britain had not won a tie in the world group of the competition and reached the quarter-finals since 1986, and they had not beaten the USA since 1935, while their last victory on American soil came in 1903.
However, Andy Murray beat Donald Young in San Diego and Ward, from Eversholt Street near Euston station, then produced a stunning comeback to shock USA’s No1 Sam Querrey – who was ranked 130 places above him - to give GB a 2-0 lead.
The host country won the doubles rubber to make it 2-1, but Murray put Britain out of sight by defeating Querrey to set up a quarter-final with Italy from April 4-6.
Ward, who is ranked 179th in the world, told the Telegraph: “I love playing for my country. It’s great to be around a group of guys because you don’t really have the support during tournaments every week of the year.
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“It’s definitely a different feeling and you’re not just fighting for yourself but for everyone else as well.”
Britain were leading 1-0 overall after Murray’s opening match when Ward took to the court against Querrey - and the north Londoner promptly lost the first set 6-1 before going 4-2 down in the second.
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Yet the 26-year-old recovered to force a tie-break and level the match and, even though he lost the third set, he battled back again to take the last two and triumph 1-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
“I was disappointed and frustrated with myself that I started that way, especially as I had been playing so well all week,” said Ward. “When you’re out there it’s a lonely place, especially when you’re not playing well. It took a big effort to turn it around.
“He served really well from the beginning. But Leon [GB captain Leon Smith] said to me at every changeover, ‘Hang on and hold serve and you will get a chance’. In the end it happened.
“As the match goes on you start to see a little bit of his patterns and he starts to get a little bit more tired - and the pressure.
“They’re one rubber down and he’s expected to beat me on paper, so he’s not in an easy position. I had to just keep reminding myself of that.”