ULM, GERMANY: German No. 1 Philipp Kohlschreiber will take on Rogerio Dutra Silva in Friday's opening singles rubber at the BNP by Paribas Davis World Group play-off at the Ratiopharm Arena, with both nations fighting to preserve their World Group status for another year.
Kohlschreiber, the world No. 25, has never faced Dutra Silva but insists he will have to be at his best despite the 109 places between them in the world rankings if he is to give Germany the perfect start.
“Everybody’s playing for their home country so I do not take any match in Davis Cup easy, even if it looks much better on paper for me,” Kohlschreiber said. “There’s a lot of pressure so I have to concentrate.”
This is the first time a Davis Cup tie has been staged at the 4,400-seater Ratiopharm Arena, home to German basketball team Vizemeister Ulm.
“We are ready,” Kohlschreiber added. “The court is playing like we wanted, not too fast. It’s a great indoor facility – hopefully many spectators will come and cheer for us.”
Germany was soundly beaten 5-0 in its first-round tie with Argentina, while Brazil was edged out 3-2 by the United States in a match that came down to the final rubber.
Arriens admits that lessons have been learnt since February’s defeat in Buenos Aires.
“It’s very helpful for me as a coach to be in a team, with Michael Kohlmann, the doctor and the physio,” Arriens said. “It would be impossible to do this job alone, so it give me a little bit of safety that I have someone who gives me good feedback.”
Brazil’s No. 1 Thomaz Bellucci, who will take on Florian Mayer in Friday’s second rubber, was just four years old the last time these two nations met back in 1992, when Brazil won a World Group first round encounter in Rio de Janeiro. The Germans lead their Davis Cup head-to-head by three ties to two.
“Even if I’ve not played my best tennis this season, obviously there is extra motivation to play Davis Cup,” Bellucci said. “Against the USA I played maybe my best match this year – I hope to play my best tennis again here.”
Daniel Brands will make his Davis Cup debut in the doubles alongside Martin Emmrich, and Arriens admitted that the world No. 51 could easily have been selected for Friday’s singles.
“I would have trusted him also in the same way I trust Philipp and Flo [Mayer],” Arriens said. “But in his first tie we decided that he’s going to play doubles on Saturday for experience.”
After lining up on opposite sides of the net in the semifinals of the US Open, Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo are reunited for the first time since their five-set victory over Bob and Mike Bryan in Jacksonville. Soares joined the team on Tuesday after reaching the final in New York alongside Austria’s Alexander Peya.
“It’s good and bad,” Soares said of his run to the final. “I’m playing good and feeling good, I got a lot of games at the US Open which helps, but I arrived late and I’m a bit jet-lagged. But I have until Saturday to get used to the time difference.
“The court is good, the conditions are nice – everything is fantastic. We’re feeling the ball well, and that’s what is important.”
The full draw is listed below:
R1: Philip Kohlschreiber (GER) v Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA)
R2: Florian Mayer (GER) v Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)
R3: Daniel Brands/Martin Emmrich (GER) v Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA)
R4: Philip Kohlschreiber (GER) v Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)
R5: Florian Mayer (GER) (GER) v Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA)
Bruno Soares (BRA) - 12/09/2013
Captain Joao Zwetsch (BRA) - 12/09/2013
Daniel Brands (GER) - 12/9/13