Davis Cup: Britain confident Italy can be beaten in quarter-final meeting

Andy Murray helped inspire Britain to victory over the US at the weekend

Britain may have achieved an historic Davis Cup triumph by beating the USA but the new head of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) believes Andy Murray can take the team to even greater heights.

Mike Downey, who has only been in the job a month after moving from Tennis Canada, is confident Britain can beat Italy in the quarter-finals.

It is the first time since 1986 that Britain have reached the last eight, and the first time they have beaten the USA since 1935.

Downey told Press Association Sport: "We have a good chance in Italy especially with Andy playing - and playing so well - as it helps raise the game of the other players.

"Andy played so well on Friday and that gave emphasis to Ward's game, and he stepped up.

"What we want now is a long run in the World group, the top 16 countries, where the stakes are higher, and where the great tennis nations continue to be."

After years in the wilderness of the Euro-African group II, from a nadir in 2010 when Britain lost to Lithuania, Britain are now at vertigo-inducing heights.

Downey believes the success can be harnessed to the campaign to boost participation after some stagnant years which has seen the LTA lose a considerable chunk of funding.

Downey, 56, added: "From my experience in Canada I think success at Davis Cup and (women's) Fed Cup is very important to the health of the sport in the country.

"It becomes 'water cooler talk' because it's about motivation, pride and the country doing well, and tennis is getting far more coverage today than it normally would and it will again when we play Italy.

"It is also really very special in that this is a team event, and you are representing your country, and it makes it even more special to beat the Americans to advance to the first quarter-final for more than 25 years away, and dealing with a pretty unruly crowd."

Last month, Sport England reduced tennis' money by £114,000 for the youth age group after a fall in participation - and that despite Murray's Wimbledon triumph - but the funding body said it had been impressed by the LTA's plans for the future.

For Downey, the Davis Cup success can be part of the platform to restore the sport at grass-roots level. The new chief executive organised a party for 100 staff to watch live coverage of the first match on Friday night and said the excitement at the victory had been notable.

He added: "We had all the flags out and it was a great night, and great for team-building too.

"The emotive nature of the Davis Cup indirectly helps things like participation, and I think that was one of the things we maybe didn't have enough focus on.

"Now we do and I think Sport England has been good for us."

PA

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam