Lloyd looks for the Davis Cup X Factor

23rd February 2009

Sessions with sports psychologist Roberto Forzoni appear to be paying off

Lloyd wants to see who can go the distance, who can recover from two sets down, who can hold serve when pain arrives deep into a fifth set. So this week, it’s three best-of-five matches – a survival of the fittest if you like.

Most impressive on the first day was Josh Goodall, the British number three, who beat Colin Fleming in straight sets.

Goodall played the final of a futures event in Italy the day before and got home at gone midnight. But after a decent sleep, he arrived in Roehampton clearly benefiting from the match practice.

Sessions with sports psychologist Roberto Forzoni appear to be paying off for the notoriously spiky 23-year-old from Basingstoke. He kept his cool when line calls were going against him and served out the match impressively with a nice variety of baseline and net play.

His coach Jeremy Bates thought it was the best he’d played for a long time and Goodall looks favourite to get the nod as second singles player.

But James Ward and Chris Eaton will push him hard on the evidence of Monday’s play.

Ward, the British number four, won in five sets against teenager Dan Evans, recovering from losing sets three and four to play his best set in the decider to take the match.

He unleashed his powerful backhand to good effect – both down the line and cross-court – and it was probably the most impressive shot of the day across the three courts.

Eaton beat Alex Slabinsky in four sets (British number seven beats number six) in a match with some scintillating exchanges. Eaton’s had some rough results since his name-making run through qualifying at Wimbledon last year but has the big serve which could cause a surprise this week.

Slabinsky looked distraught, slamming his racket into his bag. He clearly wants the pick, which will delight the captain, and has two more matches to earn it.