Belgians are too good for a British side missing Murray
Britain's hopes of returning to the Davis Cup's elite World Group are on hold for another year. In the absence of Andy Murray and James Ward, Leon Smith's team were always likely to struggle to beat Belgium, who secured victory in their Europe/Africa Zone Group One tie in Glasgow yesterday when David Goffin beat Josh Goodall 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the first of the reverse singles.
After Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins had kept Britain alive with victory in the doubles on Saturday, home hopes were raised again when Belgium's leading player, Olivier Rochus, withdrew injured shortly before yesterday's fourth rubber. Goffin, however, proved an able deputy.
Goodall's commitment and nerve were never in doubt, but his 21-year-old opponent had a significantly better all-round game and used his speed around the court to good effect. The world No 112, ranked 141 places above Goodall, made early breaks in all three sets, with the Briton managing just one in the middle of the third.
While Belgium go through to a September play-off for a place in the World Group, Britain will not play again this year. They will compete in the same division in 2013, when Smith will hope a less busy schedule will enable Murray to make himself more available.
Since making his Davis Cup debut in 2005, Murray has missed seven out of 17 ties; over the same period Roger Federer has missed eight of Switzerland's 16 ties while Rafael Nadal has missed 12 of Spain's 22.
Radamel Falcao exclusive: Forward says joining Manchester United is a 'dream come true'
Radamel Falcao analysis: Manchester United have signed a top talent yet to hit his stride
Danny Welbeck signs for Arsenal: Gunners confirm signing of striker from Manchester United
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal triggers United upheaval as 13 players leave club since manager arrived
Transfer round-up: Complete club-by-club guide to the 2014 transfer window as Radamel Falcao and Diego Costa head £835m influx
- 1 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
- 5 Katie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge: ‘I hate fat people for making me do this’
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain