Murray is left high and dry as Bogdanovic falls short
There were fewer than 50 visiting fans in the crowd, but by the end of yesterday afternoon's Davis Cup tie between Britain and Austria this felt more like the Hallenstadion in Vienna than the All England Club.
The cheers of the tiny group of Austrian supporters drowned out any other noise on Court One as Britain sank to a miserable 3-2 defeat in their World Group play-off. Next year John Lloyd's team will be mixing it with the likes of Macedonia, Poland and South Africa in the Europe Africa Zone.
Andy Murray deserves better. The 21-year-old Scot won his second singles match of the tie, defeating Jürgen Melzer 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 , but all the fears about Alex Bogdanovic's ability to handle the big occasion were realised as the British No 2 was beaten 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the decisive rubber by Alexander Peya. It was Bogdanovic's sixth defeat in six live Davis Cup rubbers.
The seeming inevitability of Bogdanovic's defeat was reflected in the mood of his fellow players, coaches and supporters. There was a marked lack of passion on the British bench in the closing stages and both Murray brothers left before the end. Andy said he had gone to the locker room to get a better view of the match on television. Lloyd said he had not noticed a lack of support from the back-up team, "but if they weren't shouting loud enough that's something we have to look at".
Lloyd will probably reflect long and hard on his decision not to play his best player in Saturday's doubles, choosing to rest Murray because of a leg muscle problem. The world No 4's brother, Jamie, and Ross Hutchins were swept aside by the experienced doubles pair of Melzer and Julian Knowle.
Andy confirmed that he had made himself available to play but had been happy to go along with his captain's choice. "It's his decision," he said. "If I'd played the doubles then maybe I would not have played as well today and would have been a bit tired. I had to miss a couple of days practice last week. I don't think the doubles was the reason we lost the tie. Alex was in a position to win the match today."
Murray said he was happy to continue playing for his country but added: "If I'm going to make the sacrifices to play in the Davis Cup then I want every single person in the team making that sacrifice and saying they will give everything they've got. I want them to say that they're going to come to the tie physically able to play even if they have to play five-set matches every day for three days. I want everyone in the team to be able to do that. Then I know everyone else in the team wants to win as badly as I do."
The British No 1 was clearly disappointed by Bogdanovic's defeat. Just as he had in his first match against Melzer, the 24-year-old got into a strong position but let the match slip from his grasp. While Bogdanovic may have had the edge in talent,it was Peya who showed greater resilience, durability and athleticism.
In contrast to Bogdanovic, Murray took every opportunity to pump up the crowd, greeting big winners with clenched fists and roars of celebration. There could be no doubting his commitment as he hurtled around the court. On one point he threw himself across the grass to retrieve a ball from outside the tramlines but was up and in position to hit a winner on his next shot. Melzer was playing his third match in three days and appeared to tire after Murray made the decisive break in the seventh game of the third set.
Murray added: "Every time I've played Davis Cup I get fired up for every match. Earlier this year a lot of people were doubting whether I enjoyed playing for my country. That's definitely not the case at all. I think you could see that by my reactions here. Winning every point means a lot to me. I was happy that I won the match. It was one of the matches I've wanted to win the most since I've been on the main tour and played in the Davis Cup."
Great Britain 2 Austria 3
A Bogdanovic lost to J Melzer 6-3 6-7 2-6 1-6
A Murray bt A Peya 6-4 6-1 6-3
R Hutchins and J Murray lost to J Knowle and Melzer 4-6 3-6 1-6
A Murray bt Melzer 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-1
Bogdanovic lost to Peya 6-2 4-6 4-6 2-6
Britain relegated from World Group