Andy Murray battles pain to help GB book final spot in Davies Cup
Andy Murray revealed he battled through a back injury to propel Great Britain into their first Davis Cup final for 37 years.
Despite being less than 100%, Murray managed to find another peak performance in his second straight-sets singles win of the semi-final against Australia by beating Bernard Tomic 7-5 6-3 6-2 in Glasgow.
That, coupled with the Scot's win over Thanasi Kokkinakis on Friday and his doubles triumph with brother Jamie, gave Leon Smith's team an unassailable lead and the chance to win the competition for the first time since 1936.
Kokkinakis later beat Dan Evans 7-5 6-4 to ensure a 3-2 win for Britain, which sets up a final meeting away to Belgium - who last reached the final 111 years ago - on November 27-29, following their 3-2 triumph over Argentina in Brussels yesterday.
Murray did not appear to be moving too freely early in the four-hour doubles win on Saturday, but he gave nothing away on his injury until after the triumph was sealed.
The world number three, who had back surgery two years ago, said: "I wasn't concerned about how much I had left in the tank, I was more concerned about my back. My back has been giving me a lot of trouble this week.
"It's nothing to do with the previous issues I had with my back, it's a completely different thing.
"My back was absolutely fine during the US Open, then I took five days off, started practising again on Sunday here.
"I don't know exactly what happened. Sometimes after you have played a lot of tennis, when you take a break the muscles stiffen up and when you come back you can have some issues."
While Murray was able to play through the pain barrier, he also found a way to block out the emotion of ending Britain's long wait for a Davis Cup final place in front of 8,000 fans at Glasgow's Emirates Arena.
"I probably thought about it more before the match than when I was on the court," said Murray, who has now secured Britain's last seven Davis Cup points, along with his brother.
"Once I was out there I was just trying to play each point, fight as hard as I could on his service games and get as many balls back in play as I could.
"I wasn't really thinking about history or anything like that, I was just concentrating on the points.
"I'm obviously delighted to get through. We knew it would be an incredibly difficult match to win, Australia have great depth and experience," Murray added.
Murray started off with two aces in the first three points and broke Tomic at the second attempt after a deep high shot put the world number 23 on the back foot.
It was not entirely plain sailing - Murray double-faulted and was then wide with a backhand to hand Tomic a break back as he served for the set. But Murray set up three break-points in the next game and finished Tomic off with a backhand drop shot.
Murray strengthened his grip in the fourth game of the second set, producing some magnificent defence to return shots that were hard enough just to reach, and Tomic cracked when he smashed into the net to set up two break-points.
Murray only needed one and the British number one saw out the set by serving to love.
The 28-year-old soon broke to take control of the third set and he swept to victory in style, going 4-2 ahead thanks to two audacious drop shots in succession followed by an ace to leave Tomic looking utterly broken.
Tomic believes Murray will go on to inspire Britain to the trophy.
"His motivation, his presence changes every point," Tomic commented.
"He's an amazing player."