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'If one man from Liege can slay a giant, why can't I?'

A nerve-wracked David Goffin cowered behind his couch as Belgium's footballers all but clinched World Cup qualification at Hampden Park.

Now it is Andy Murray's army of supporters who the world No.105 plans to subject to an uncomfortable afternoon in front of their television sets.

The 23-year-old has never beaten a top-10 player in his life but he is hardly a stranger to the grand arenas of world tennis, having acquitted himself well albeit in defeat against Roger Federer and Novak Djokokic at Roland Garros, and Tomas Berdych at the US Open. Moreover, he goes into today's match on Centre Court with the benefit of a pep talk with his fellow Liegeois and friend Steve Darcis, who shocked the sporting world by ambushing Rafael Nadal at the same first-round stage at Wimbledon last year.

While Darcis was memorably claiming the scalp of the Spaniard, a disconsolate Goffin was trudging back to the locker room after a straight-sets first-round defeat by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The right-hander's fortunes haven't improved much recently either, a hamstring tear on the eve of this year's Australian Open causing him to miss nearly two months of action and seeing his world ranking, previously as high as 42, plummet to below 100. Yet, however intangible it may be, Goffin is sure he can take something from his friend's achievement.

"I follow football a lot, not just the national team but the Premier League also," said Goffin. "My team is Arsenal but I watched the qualifiers on TV when Belgium beat Scotland home and away to reach the World Cup. I got so nervous during one of the matches that for some of it I was watching from behind the sofa.

"Myself and Steve speak a lot," he added. "And we will speak about this draw. What he did gives me encouragement - if he can do it then why can't I? We played at the same time so when I finished against Tsonga he was serving for the match. I was really surprised but he played really well. He had that small chance and he took it. Maybe I can do the same this year against Andy.

"If I have a small opportunity and Andy is a little bit tight, then you never know. He is the defending champion, it is the first match on Centre Court and I have nothing to lose. When I saw the draw I was a little disappointed because I am feeling good and I was expecting another draw. But this will be great experience and I hope it can be a great moment for me. It is the first time I have played on Centre Court and it will be an honour to open the tournament."

Goffin has never previously played against the world No.5 from Dunblane, but he does have pleasant memories of Scotland to speak of. His first involvement with the Belgian Davis Cup team came as they secured a 4-1 win against Team GB at the Braehead Arena, with Goffin himself winning the deciding rubber against Josh Goodall.

"I lost in the doubles but I won the final match in the singles to win the tie," said Goffin. "It was a great experience, my first time in the Davis Cup team. But I had no chance to see the city. A goal for me this year would be to try to get back in the top 50. I was 42 before so why not?"

Darcis isn't the only one of Goffin's compatriots who have been assisting the world No.105. Julien Hoferlin, an LTA coach who works with Dan Evans, helped fix up some hitting practice on one of the match courts with the British No.2 from Birmingham on Saturday.

"He [Goffin] is a talented guy, he has a small, small, small chance but not more than that," said Hoferlin, a former Belgium Davis Cup captain. "If he just plays a good match there is 99% of chances that Andy will win. Steve had more experience and he has a better game for grass than David."

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