BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: Czech Republic are desperately hoping that history will repeat itself after their 3-2 victory over Argentina in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals.
In 1980, playing as Czechoslovakia, they won Davis Cup for the only time having recorded an away win over Argentina in the semifinals before lifting the coveted trophy on home soil. It was essentially a two-man team with Ivan Lendl and Tomas Smid.
Now they have defeated the Argentines again handing the South Americans their first ever loss at the Parque Roca stadium and their first home loss on clay since 1998, and once again the Czechs are essentially a two-man team, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek.
They will take on the almighty Spaniards in the Final. They have played each other six times and Spain lead the series 4-2. Their last meeting came three years ago, also in the Final, and went the way of Spain, so this time the Czechs will be out for revenge.
“I am very happy, it’s been an unbelievable three days in this tennis stadium with perfect tennis on both sides,” said Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil. “After three years we are back in the Final and the first time we are playing at home after 1980. I am very happy. This is a very proud moment.
“We also did this for the 150 fans that came to Buenos Aires. It was tough for so many of them to make the long flight but they have supported us and we are so happy for them too.”
Berdych said after defeating Carlos Berlocq in the first reverse singles, which sealed the Czech’s place in the Final, that it was their goal to achieve what many believe is a near impossible task and that is to defeat Argentina, in Argentina.
“We had the belief and we showed that it is possible to do, beat Argentina, in Argentina,” Berdych said as the smile across his face reflected how thrilled he was feeling.
“We will be at home in Prague and we will be picking the surface and it will be in front of our own fans. It will be amazing and we are very excited to be in the Final again. To win like we did is probably giving us so much confidence for the future.”
As for Argentina, it will be time to take stock but not just yet. The disappointment runs deep but their captain Martin Jaite said they lost to a team that played better. He said this was not the time to make judgements or assessments.
“We are not happy but this is sport, sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some,” said Jaite. “They won and they are in the Final and we are going to try again next year.
“We have to leave it a few days but for sure we are going to have a meeting with the team, but we are okay. We were one of the top four in the year and we try to prepare for next year.”
The month of November is going to be an amazing time to be Czech as the country also hosts the Final of the women’s equivalent of Davis Cup, Fed Cup by BNP Paribas. It marks the first time since 1975 that the Czechs have reached both Finals in the same year.