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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
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.

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride