BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: Argentina will tomorrow start its 12th straight season in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group, and the South Americans will play for the eighth time at home. What is it that makes this tie different from others played here in Mary Teran de Weiss Stadium at Parque Roca? The home team truly feels that their chances are 50/50 against Germany.
Carlos Berlocq, who is going to play only his second match in the competition, has a very difficult task as he will be opening the tie on Friday morning against the No. 1 German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who is eager for collecting a win after a one year-absence from the competition.
After the opening match, the top Argentinian Juan Monaco and the German No. 2, Florian Mayer, will step onto the centre court to play the second rubber.
“I have great confidence in my players and I am sure we will go ahead with them. However, I expect a difficult tie. It’s going to be a close one, and this is why I don’t imagine it finishing on Saturday, as has happened many times in Buenos Aires. But if so, I hope the win is on our side”, reflected Argentina’s captain Martin Jaite with a smile.
There are a couple of things that has brought the South American team to a situation like this. First and foremost, Juan Martin del Potro’s decision of remaining off the Davis Cup team this year to focus on the men’s tour and try to reach improve his ranking to a top position.
Another important change has to do with age. David Nalbandian is the only player remaining on tour from the group known for many years as “The Argentine Legion”, the best group of players that this country has ever seen, of course apart from the legendary Guillermo Vilas. And the Unquillo native is not in his top form as he has been sidelined for eight months with an abdominal injury and, lately, with a muscle strain.
Finally, the defeat suffered here last year in the semifinal against Czech Republic is still fresh in the memory of everyone.
Curiously, it is the second straight year that Argentina and Germany are playing each other in the first round, after Argentina’s 4-1 victory in Bamberg on indoor clay. That triumph gives a limited confidence to local players, just as Juan Monaco says: “Last year, in Germany, it was a big win for us. We know that we can win again, but we respect the German team. This time they will have Kohlschreiber as their leading player, so they are stronger. We need to play at 100 percent to secure our spot in the quarterfinals”.
When comes to the German team, Kohlschreiber is excited in his return to the Davis Cup and he relies on his teammates. “I am pretty confident, but I know that we will have to give our 100 percent to win the tie. Argentina has a strong team. I don’t think the hot and humid weather will play a part during the weekend as we are accustom to it. It is not as hot as Australia. I hope to win tomorrow to give Germany the lead”, said Kohlschreiber.
The full draw is listed below:
R1: Carlos Berlocq (ARG) v Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
R2: Juan Monaco (ARG) v Florian Mayer (GER)
R3: David Nalbandian/Horacio Zeballos (ARG) v Christopher Kas/Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
R4: Juan Monaco (ARG) v Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
R5: Carlos Berlocq (ARG) v Florian Mayer (GER)
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