10 facts about Great Britain and the Davis Cup Final

As Andy Murray and Co bid to lead Great Britain to tennis glory in the Davis Cup Final against Belgium, here are 10 facts about Britain's involvement in the patriotic tennis comp.

1. Britain took part in the inaugural Davis Cup Final and suffered an unexpected drubbing

A tournament dreamed up by the Harvard University tennis team pitted the "British Isles" against the USA at Boston's Lockwood Cricket Club in 1900 in what was initially titled the International Lawn Tennis Challenge.

A 3-0 home victory meant the trophy - ordered and paid for by tournament inventor Dwight Davis - stayed in America and the competition was subsequently renamed in the man's honour.

The lavish multi-tiered Davis Cup trophy bears the name of tournament founder Dwight Davis along with the 22 nations who have won it in 114 years. Credit: PA Wire

2. Britain has celebrated nine Davis Cup Final victories but not since 1936

A team led by British tennis legends Bunny Austin and Fred Perry saw off the challenge of Australia the last time British tennis fans could celebrate conquering the rest of the world.

Perry's decisive straight-sets victory in the fifth and final rubber secured Britain the cup - in the same year he won Wimbledon and the US Open.

Henry Wilfred 'Bunny' Austin has appeared in more Davis Cup finals than any other British player. Credit: EMPICS Sport

3. Britain last made a final 37 years ago amid protests over the team's National Front sympathiser

The USA-Britain final in the Californian desert in 1978 pitted "Super-Brat" John McEnroe against an even more controversial figure: the then British number one Buster Mottram.

Mottram was known for right-wing views so strong he was branded a Nazi by some British tennis fans who protested his place in the team. McEnroe and Co won 4-1.

National Front member Buster Mottram's place in the 1978 Davis Cup team led to protests from the anti-Nazi league during an earlier round tie against Austria. Credit: PA Archive

4. The 1978 final would pave the way for a British leisure centre chain

Just like the Murrays in 2015, the 1978 final saw two British brothers represent their nation.

While the then-22-year-old John Lloyd would later become a tennis pundit regular it was his older sibling who has become the better known name after using it to launch the successful chain of David Lloyd Leisure centres.

Like his brother John, David Lloyd captained Britain's Davis Cup team. He led the squad in the era of Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski. Credit: PA Archive

5. Two British players have taken part in the Davis Cup Final beyond the age of 40

At 40 years and 171 days old, Charles Dixon would be on the tennis veteran tour these days. But back in 1913 he was playing singles and doubles at that exact age in a 3-2 home loss to USA.

Six years later Alfred Beamish - at a marginally younger 40 years and 168 days - played in the doubles in a 4-1 away defeat to Australia. A mis-match? Hardly. The Aussies included a 42-year-old player, Norman Brookes, in their winning outfit.

6. Austin beats Perry in the most final appearances but Perry won more

Our sixth fact celebrates the six Davis Cup Finals competed in by Bunny Austin, one more than his team-mate Fred Perry and the record for a British player.

It was Perry who ended with the better record, though. While Austin won eight and lost four of his single matches, Perry was only beaten once in his 10 matches.

Fred Perry helped Britain win the Davis Cup four times in a row between 1933 and 1936 before turning professional. Credit: PA Wire

7. Andy Murray will join recent tennis greats if he leads Britain to glory

Dunblane's most famous son will bid for Davis Cup glory to add to his two grand slams and Olympic gold medal (while brother Jamie looks to add to his own Wimbledon mixed doubles crown).

Besides joining the likes of British greats Austin and Perry, if Britain is victorious it will see Andy Murray join Switzerland's Roger Federer, Spain's Rafael Nadal and Serbia's Novak Djokovic as Davis Cup winners.

Andy Murray has already followed Fred Perry in winning the Wimbledon men's title.

8. Murray's singles partner Kyle Edmund has already joined select Davis Cup group

Kyle Edmund - who has been picked by captain Leon Smith to play Britain's first match of the 2015 final - will automatically etch his name in history.

The world no 156 will become only the sixth man in Davis Cup history to make his competition debut in the final, a list that includes American tennis legends John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.

Lowly ranked Kyle Edmund won a tournament on clay recently but will start as a rank outsider against Belgium's world number 16 David Goffin. Credit: PA Wire

9. Despite the long final absence, Britain is the joint-third most successful Davis Cup nation

Nine wins in 19 finals puts Great Britain level with France in the Davis Cup history books as the third most successful nation. Fellow founders USA lead the way with 32 wins and 29 losses in 61 appearances, narrowly ahead of Australia who have won 29 times and lost only 19 in 48 finals.

All four nations were helped by the old format that allowed the defending champions a direct pass to the next year's final.

10. Britain's final appearance comes five years after avoiding rock bottom

For British tennis fans who can remember embarrassing defeats to tennis minnows like Israel, Ecuador and Lithuania, the 2015 final against Belgium is one to savour.

It is only five years since captain Leon Smith inherited a team that was on the brink of relegation to the lowest tier of the competition, Europe/Africa Zone Group III. Smith guided the team to a playoff win over Turkey to stay up and the rest is history.

Great Britain avoided relegation to the Davis Cup basement in front of modest crowds at Eastbourne's Devonshire Park back in 2010. Credit: PA Archive