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Davis Cup 2011: Murray brothers prove far too strong for Luxembourg duo in Davis Cup

Here was a tennis player in miniature, and the casual viewer could have tuned in and wondered whether Great Britain’s Davis Cup team were playing Luxembourg or Jonathan Swift’s Lilliput.


Usually when Andy Murray encounters someone of Mike Vermeer’s size on court, the Scot asks him to fetch his towel or a bottle of something refreshing from the drinks cooler, or to keep him supplied with tennis balls.

Vermeer, an 18 year-old with thick, blond pudding-bowl hair, does not look a day over 14 and was shorter and slighter than at least a couple of the ball-kids at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena.

“Who stole all your Milky Bars?” kept chanting one section of the crowd at the wee man from the Grand Duchy.

So, on the day that Clan Murray played doubles together in the Davis Cup for the first time, Andy and Jamie did not exactly have to beat one of the world’s most accomplished pairings, and it was an afternoon devoid of any edge or tension, not that the Scottish public seemed to care.

Partnering Luxembourg’s Milky Bar Kid, who is ranked 971 in singles and 455 in doubles, was Laurent Bram, an unranked club coach who the evening before had lost 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 to Andy Murray in a singles rubber that had taken less than an hour.

According to the day’s programme, Bram was “hoping to bounce back from his singles defeat” – no one has ever bounced that far in less than 24 hours. This time, though, there was just the one bagel set, with the Murrays winning 7-5, 6-2, 6-0 to give Britain a 2-1 lead.

It struck many as being a touch peculiar that Jacques Radoux, a lawyer who took a week’s holiday to captain his country, did not use his best player, the world No81 Gilles Müller, in the doubles as it is difficult now to see how the tax haven can go on to win this tie in Group Two of the Euro-African Zone, the competition’s third division. Even if Murray does not defeat Müller this afternoon to give Britain an unassailable lead, it is impossible to imagine that James Ward would then lose what would be a decisive fifth rubber.

While Vermeer could probably have crawled into Andy Murray’s racket-bag and zipped himself up from the inside, he did play some reasonable tennis. He was not lacking for confidence, made some smart interceptions at the net, showed some good touches, and early in the first set he struck the world No  4 in the back with a volley. It is just as well that Vermeer lacks power in his racket-arm as that could have really hurt. If he ever goes through a growth spurt, and adds another six or seven inches in height, he could turn out to be a half-decent player, but, since he is already 18, it is unlikely that will happen.

This was a fine day for the Murray family as Andy and Jamie became the third pair of British brothers to play doubles together in the Davis Cup. In the 1900s, there was the dapper duo of Laurie and Reggie Doherty, or ‘Little Do’ and ‘Big Do’, who have a pair of gates named after them at the All England Club. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was the Lloyd-Lloyd combination of David and John, both of whom went on to captain their country.

Apart from when he was hit on the back, Andy Murray’s first tie for two years has so far passed off very smoothly indeed.

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