Davis Cup: 'Great Britain should be excited for future,' says Leon Smith

Andy Murray
Andy Murray watched on as Great Britain missed out on a place in the final
2019 Davis Cup finals
Venue: Caja Magica, Madrid Dates: 18-24 November
Coverage:Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from Wednesday, 20 November; Live text coverage on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Captain Leon Smith says Great Britain can be excited about their chances of future success in the Davis Cup despite a heartbreaking semi-final defeat by a Rafael Nadal-inspired Spain in Madrid.

Doubles pair Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski lost the deciding rubber to Nadal and Feliciano Lopez in a 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (10-8) defeat.

It clinched a 2-1 win for hosts Spain, who play Canada in Sunday's final.

"I look forward to a really positive 2020," Smith said.

Britain's five-man team of Andy Murray, Dan Evans, Kyle Edmund, Jamie Murray and Skupski reached the last four of the inaugural season-ending finals, which are the brainchild of Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, to ensure an automatic spot in next year's event.

Edmund, 24, was the star player for Britain, winning all three of his singles rubbers in straight sets, despite a disappointing ATP season where he has slipped to 69th in the world.

Andy Murray, 32, missed the last three matches after struggling for fitness during a sluggish three-set win over world number 179 Tallon Griekspoor in the opening victory over the Netherlands.

Evans, who won one of his four singles matches, is ranked as the British number one, while Jamie Murray and Skupski are continuing to improve as regular doubles partner.

Smith also pointed to Cameron Norrie and doubles player Joe Salisbury - Britain's sole representative at the recent ATP Finals - to illustrate the depth at his disposal.

"Everyone's got their different journey to go on, but I think we should be excited by what we have in British tennis," said Smith, whose side also beat Kazakhstan and Germany.

"We've got so many different things going. I think it's great, it's positive.

"Hopefully everyone can just keep on that path and we come back here next year with an even stronger team than the strong team we have already got."

Spain celebrate beating Great Britain
Spain's victory sparked wild celebrations in Madrid's Caja Magica arena

Jamie Murray and Skupski, who had an impressive week on his Davis Cup debut, could not convert any of four second-set points against world singles number one Nadal, 32, and 38-year-old Lopez in Saturday's semi-final.

The Spanish pair, roared on by a boisterous home crowd in the Caja Magica, swung the momentum back in their favour and converted a second match point to leave the British contingent devastated.

"The emotion is still raw," Smith told BBC Sport.

"You're within a couple of points of going into a deciding third set and then it's game on. There was nothing in it. I'm proud of all of them.

"We're hurting, but we've seen an amazing tie here against Spain, who are arguably the strongest team in the competition, especially with Rafa in it.

"We've pushed them within a couple of points to a deciding set to see who goes into the final.

"To reach semi-finals is a brilliant achievement, we have come through tough matches and tough moments.

"Everyone has stepped up and we'll look back proudly on this."

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