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22 March 2012

Austrian captain predicts tough task ahead


Photo: GEPACaptain Clemens Trimmel (AUT)

In just his second tie as Austrian captain, Clemens Trimmel talks to about his team's chances ahead of their difficult trip to face defending champions Spain in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarterfinals on 6-8 April.

Spain’s last defeat on home soil was way back in 1999 by a team led by then “King of clay” Guga Kuerten... it looks quite a task ahead!
Without a doubt, we are the obvious underdogs going into this tie, keeping in mind that Spain can count a total of 13 players amongst the Top 100, an incredible figure in itself. We, on the other hand, can currently only count Jurgen Melzer as Top 100, although we have great hope that Andreas Haider-Maurer will break the magic barrier of the Top 100 in the near future. So yes, it’s really quite a task.

Austria is in the World Group quarterfinals for the first time in 17 years. Is this the most competitive Austrian team of the past two decades?
Quite frankly I think that drawing a comparison between our current team and those of the past is difficult. With players such as Muster, Skoff and Koubek amongst others, Austrian tennis was also well represented in the past.

An Austrian victory in Spain depends on...
As we have seen on many occasions in the past, the Davis Cup often writes its own rules. Unexpected things can happen, but clearly much would depend on my players leaving their all out on the court. All, of course, while keeping in mind that on the other side of the net will stand some of the best clay court players of our time. 

How do you assess the chances for both teams?
As previously mentioned, we are quite happy in the role of the underdog!

Do you think that the atmosphere at the Marina d’Or venue can play a decisive role in the tie?
Obviously playing on home soil is always a great advantage, especially for nations with such passionate and tennis enthusiastic fans as the Spanish.

Is the team 100% decided in your mind or may there be a last minute surprise?
I have had a rough idea of the team constellation in mind for a while now, so there are no surprises to be expected.

Jurgen Melzer has been playing Davis Cup for 13 years so far... what does Jurgen mean for the team and for Austrian tennis in general?
Clearly Jurgen has been a team leader for many years now, with his great run in 2010 and his steadily consistent presence in the Top 30 he is the current face of Austrian tennis.

Your debut as captain was against Russia in February and it couldn’t have gone better. What are the main challenges of being a captain so far?
I honestly have enjoyed every minute so far, although undoubtedly tough moments arise in situations where I must disappoint a player in telling them they will not play or in moments of defeat.

You are one of the youngest captains in the World Group. Do you think that this fact helps you to connect better with the players?
I think that question you should probably ask my players. What I can say is that they are a great bunch of guys and we enjoy working together, but at the same time and despite our closeness in age there is great mutual respect amongst us all.

What do you think about the health of Austrian tennis in terms of young talent and future expectations?
Aside from being Davis Cup captain, I also hold the position of Sports Director of the Austrian Tennis Federation. Currently I am in the process of obtaining an overview of the talent that is around.

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