For Robin Haase the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round draw could not have been more difficult pitting his Dutch team away to defending champions Czech Republic but the tie will also be a rematch of his first ever tie in the competition.
“There were two countries that I really didn’t want to play and one of them was Czech Republic because it’s also away as well as the two-time defending champions with great players. I think we could have gotten Spain as well, but at least that would have been at home.”
In the 2006 World Group play-offs Haase was drafted into the side as a 19-year-old and the Netherlands defending a 14-year stay in the top tier.
“That was my first Davis Cup tie, I was not even sure if I would be in the team and then in the end I played. It was a great experience but at that time I wasn’t really ready to play someone like Berdych.”
He did, however, achieve a significant milestone in his career that weekend: “In that tie I won against a Top 100 player for the first time, Jan Hernych, in the fifth rubber. I think with every tie you always have some memories that stick with you.”
Since that time Haase has grown into his role and now commands the No. 1 spot for his nation leading them in 2013 to consecutive whitewash victories, against Romania in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I quarterfinals and then Austria to secure promotion to the World Group.
“We had a great win, but we have to be honest – we were also lucky. [Alexander] Peya got injured before the tie on Thursday night and after the draw was made Haider-Maurer got sick…but to win 5-0 in the end was a great effort.”
The world No. 45 has amassed an impressive record in the competition, winning 16 of his 23 singles rubbers and has also been asked to play doubles on nine occasions in those 13 ties to help his side but he knows that the standard of opposition will be much higher this time around.
“In the last few ties I have been playing three matches so if the captain needs me and I am fit enough, I am always glad to play but it’s also not that easy. We just go there and try to play our best and hopefully we get some chances.
“For me it’s the first time really in the World Group, I’ve played for a long time but we always played the play-offs and then one time I was injured [against Argentina] but I’m really looking forward to it and I think it is always nice for a country like the Netherlands which has a nice Davis Cup history with fans”