The Queen will be sizing up Andy Murray OBE for a knighthood after he heroically propelled Great Britain into their first Davis Cup final in 37 years.
Murray’s reverse singles dispatch of Bernard Tomic on Sunday shattered Australia’s own hopes of a first final appearance since 2003 and crushed Lleyton Hewitt’s dream of a fairytale farewell to the competition he covets above all.
Just as Argentine ironman David Nalbandian did in Australia’s last semi-final in Buenos Aires in 2006, Murray filled the local hero role with aplomb by also securing all three points for Britain.
“Andy was like a locomotive this weekend,” Australian captain Wally Masur marvelled of the world No.3’s mighty effort.
In consecutive days, the Great Scot cleaned up Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3 6-0 6-3, teamed with older brother Jamie to effectively end Hewitt’s celebrated Davis Cup career with an epic 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 victory in the pivotal doubles rubber before crushing Tomic 7-5 6-3 6-2.
“You’ve got to be a special kind of competitor to lay it on the line day in, day out, and it’s not an easy thing to do at all,” said Hewitt, a man who knows having served Australia so valiantly for a record 17 years and 40 ties since debuting as a teenager in 1999.
“Andy’s in the peak of his powers at the moment.”
Murray was at pains to point out he’s no one-man team, but the Brits simply could not have made the final without the dual grand slam winner and reigning Olympic champion.
“Winning for your country and your team-mates means such a lot,” he said.
“The crowd were unbelievable from the first ball to the last.”
A vanquished Tomic said “you’re not just playing against Andy Murray here, you’re playing all of Britain it feels like” after admitting he’d been powerless to stop a man on a mission in front of 8000 delirious home fans.
Remarkably, after being on the verge of relegation to Zone Group III, the lowest level of the competition, in 2010, Britain will travel to Belgium to vie for their first title since 1936 from November 27-29.
That was the same year 79 years ago that a British man last won Wimbledon before Murray reigned in 2013.
The 28-year-old was awarded an Order of the British Empire after breaking that famous drought.
If he smashes the country’s Davis Cup hoodoo in a repeat of the first-ever Davis Cup final between Great Britain and Belgium 111 years ago, Murray will surely soon be Sir Andy.
With Murray unbeaten in Davis Cup singles in Britain and now undefeated in 17 meetings over a decade against Australian challengers, the outcome of the Ashes-like semi-final always hinged on the doubles.
Asked who would now lift the trophy in 2015, Tomic didn’t hesitate in nominating Britain.
“Whoever won that doubles was the winner,” he said.
Hewitt had no regrets, saying the Australians “laid it all on the line again” only to ultimately come up two games short in the 3-2 defeat.
But the captain-in-waiting said it was important to avoid any further unwanted setbacks after Australia were without the suspended Tomic for the dramatic quarter-final escape against Kazakhstan and the exiled Nick Kyrgios against Great Britain.
“Obviously we want to have our best team at every tie,” Hewitt said.
“It hasn’t been easy and that’s something for the future that we’ve got to address.”