LEON Smith has saluted Jamie Murray’s contribution to Great Britain’s Davis Cup run ahead of the final against Belgium.

The doubles specialist had not played for Britain for almost four years when he was selected for the doubles for March’s first-round match against the USA.

Murray showed his improved form as he and Dominic Inglot almost pulled off a stunning comeback against Bob and Mike Bryan, but it is with brother Andy that he has really shone.

A week after reaching the Wimbledon final with Australian partner John Peers, Jamie was the standout player as he and Andy defeated the French at Queen’s Club.

And on home soil in Glasgow in September, just after Jamie and Peers had made the final of the US Open, the Murray brothers won in five pulsating sets against Australians Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth.

British captain Smith said of Jamie’s form: “It’s absolutely fantastic. The doubles rubber is always key and we’ve always been spoilt for choice, but in Jamie we have one of the best players in the world now, and that makes a big difference.

“When you look back to the tie against France, he played unbelievable tennis. It was like a man on fire. And he’s kept that going. This means an awful lot to both brothers, not just Andy.”

Whoever Belgium choose for the doubles rubber, with Steve Darcis and Ruben Bemelmans the favourites, it is tough to make a case for the hosts winning it.

The same can be said for both of Andy Murray’s singles matches, so they will have to cause a big upset somewhere if they are to deny Britain a first Davis Cup title since 1936.

The big factor in Belgium’s favour is that they are playing at home, as they have throughout their unexpected run to the final.

The indoor clay surface would certainly not be what Britain would have chosen while 13,000 fans, 90 per cent of them Belgians, will be packed into the Flanders Expo.

Smith has only lost two ties since taking over as captain in 2010. One was against Belgium in Glasgow in 2012, when Andy Murray did not play, while the other came last year on clay in Italy. He has also masterminded away victories on clay in Croatia and the USA, and Smith said: “There’s not a huge amount you can change in terms of your preparation in dealing with the fans that are going to be there.

“We’ve played in front of our fans to know what the atmosphere is like when it’s been on our side. Obviously you’ll flip it the other way.

“We’ve had experience playing in Naples and Umag, as well, which were good atmospheres. San Diego was a bit quieter.

“Our team’s got a lot of experience now because of the ties. It’s more about preparing for the matches, as everything has been pretty well documented, the training that everyone has done.

“It’s been slightly different for each player, but it’s all been geared towards the surface and environment here.”

Having to play the ATP World Tour Finals in London on hard courts so close to the final was a complicating factor for both the Murray brothers but they practised on clay both before and after the O2 tournament.

Meanwhile, the wait to see who gets selected to play the second singles rubber goes on for James Ward and Kyle Edmund as Smith mulls his decision.

The GB captain had hoped to make an early decision but, with the British team’s journey to Ghent delayed by the security lockdown in nearby Brussels, the pair were last night still uncertain who will join Andy Murray in the side.

Smith does not have to submit his official four-man team until an hour before the draw later today, and he said: “We wanted to get here and actually get a feel for the venue, a feel for the courts.

“That’s why I didn’t speak to the guys directly about it just yet. I’m going to wait and see.”

It is a choice between youth and experience for Smith. Ward has been a stalwart during the Scot’s five-and-a-half-year reign as captain and Britain probably would not be in the final had he not upset USA number one John Isner in the first round.

Edmund and Ward travelled to South America to play tournaments on outdoor clay.

Ward returned home a week before travelling to Ghent but, having won a title in Buenos Aires to put himself in pole position to play against Belgium, Edmund stayed on to play a tournament in Montevideo.