JAMES McGee says that the freshness in the Irish team helped him power to a straight sets win over Egypt’s Mohmaed Safwat last Sunday to see his team over the line in the BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group II Davis Cup relegation play-off with Egpyt in Castleknock.
Playing in front of his home club, McGee won 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 to give Ireland an unassailable advantage in the tie, adding to his victory in Friday’s singles and James Cluskey and Sam Barry’s doubles success on Saturday.
It was an outcome in stark contrast to the last time Ireland played Egypt, prevailing in the fifth set of the fifth rubber on the fourth day of a scorching encounter in North Africa.
But McGee hopes this comfortable win can be the catalyst to see Ireland move away from relegation issues in the future and push for promotion in the coming years.
Speaking afterwards about the tie, he said: “We need to make progress and not be hanging on by a thread in Group Two on a regular basis.
“With myself, Sam Barry, James Cluskey and Daniel Glancy, we have a good team and hopefully Louk [Sorensen] will be available for next year as well.”
Reflecting on his own performance in the Safwat tie, he said he benefited from not having to play in the doubles following his Friday win over Karim-Mohamed Maamoun 6-0, 6-3, 6-2.
“It’s great that we have retained our place in Group Two, but it was quite a tough match for me.
“A good deal of the pressure was taken off me after we won the doubles, and as well, Mohamed had played two matches in two days whereas I had played just one.
“Also he had played seven sets whereas I had played only three, so physically I had a bit of an edge. But still he’s a top 200 player and I could easily have lost to him today.”
Following McGee’s initial win, Sam Barry pushed Egypt’s number on Safwat all the way in a thrilling five-set tie but ultimately fell in the decider.
But, with doubles specialist James Cluskey lining out in the doubles leg with Barry, Ireland were put into pole position when they defeated Sherif Sabry and Safwat, leaving Ireland needing just one more rubber to win the tie.
McGee prevailed, rendering Mazen Osama’s win over Daniel Glancy as academic with Ireland winning out 3-2.