By Martyn Herman
Andy Murray sealed Britain’s first Davis Cup title for 79 years with a brilliant 6-3 7-5 6-3 defeat of Belgium’s David Goffin in a fever-pitch atmosphere at Ghent’s Flanders Expo on Sunday.
With hundreds of British fans decked out in union flags and saltires roaring on the Scot and thousands of baying Belgians urging on Goffin, Murray’s nerve held firm to subdue an inspired opponent and give the visitors a winning 3-1 lead.
Murray was forced to play some of his best tennis against an opponent who refused to buckle, but he would not be denied as he led his country to a first title since 1936.
He wobbled briefly when he dropped serve early in the third set but the world number two responded to move 5-3 ahead.
He finished the job in spectacular fashion, hoisting a lob over the stranded Goffin before collapsing onto the court.
Murray was immediately swamped by his team-mates, captain Leon Smith and the support staff and was hoisted shoulder high on the court before saluting the dancing British fans.
“It’s been an incredible few years,” an emotional Murray said on court. “I can’t believe we did it, I never thought we would. I play my best tennis when I play for my country.
“The atmosphere was phenomenal. I imagine we’ll have a party tonight.”
The 28-year-old Scot became the first man to win three live rubbers in a Davis Cup final since American Pete Sampras in 1995, taking his record in this year’s competition to 11-0.
Britain’s first title since 1936 takes their tally to 10.
Belgium began the day needing to win both the reverse singles if they were to pull off a remarkable comeback and win the 115-year-old team event for the first time.