It was difficult to imagine in 1987 when I attended my first National coaches conference at Bisham Abbey when the then head of performance Richard Lewis, now CEO of the all England club, asked if we could produce a Wimbledon champion by the turn-of-the-century. I believed it was possible and along came a guy called Tim Henman who almost achieved that. I was part of the Davis Cup experience during the Henman/Rusedski era and believed that together they could win the Davis cup, but that dream faded on a weekend when we lost to the United States in a famous match at the Birmingham NEC. I think errors were made and the team was capable, but small things count and leadership has to inspire both the stars and the supporting cast into something bigger than the individuals.

Built through his own achievements and the help of a team Andy delivers the Davis Cup for Great Britain.


TTwo things needed to happen for that dream to become a reality and the first was to create a team atmosphere where everybody could support and pull each other along during all the emotional ups and downs that occur in a journey that culminates in winning something of such magnitude. The second was to have a player that truly believed that anything was possible and someone with competitive instincts in crucial moments that not only could inspire himself but the team around him.

Two things needed to happen for that dream to become a reality and the first was to create a team atmosphere where everybody could support and pull each other along during all the emotional ups and downs that occur in a journey that culminates in winning something of such magnitude. The second was to have a player that truly believed that anything was possible and someone with competitive instincts in crucial moments that not only could inspire himself but the team around him.

The first was Leon Smith. Coaching and leadership is full of nuances and managing this energy takes some special attributes and over the course of five years Leon has proved that he has these abilities. Steven Martens, ironically a Belgian, who had being employed to try and fix the ills of British tennis, interviewed me for the Davis Cup job. I know my coaching abilities were up to the job but I now know I could not have done what Leon has done. The decision to appoint him one is of the most important ever taken by British tennis and Stephen along with Roger Draper can take credit for this powerful move. However appointing is one thing and delivering is another. I think it would be folly to under estimate the impact that Leon has had in the bringing together a world conquering team. The best coach is one who wins. He was able to get results that I don’t think James Ward and Dan Evans ever thought possible and the James Ward win over John Isner was a catalyst that I think gave Andy enormous motivation.

It is impossible to measure each persons contribution because there are small things that happen that make big differences and along this five-year journey there have been many players, trainers, physios and additional support staff that all bring important bits to the table, but like a Formula One team at the end of the day you need a driver who is special and can win, the leader who does so by example and from the front. Andy Murray is that a person. Leon Smith managed that person and brought along the rest of the team in an atmosphere that allowed him to do his best work. There is little else to say other than – ‘Wow! A superb job.’