ZAGREB, CROATIA: Marin Cilic and Florian Mayer will open the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie between Croatia and Germany.
Croatian No. 1 Cilic is hoping for better luck as he has lost both his matches against the German - at last year’s Wimbledon and just a few weeks ago at Zagreb, failing to win even a set.
Next on court is Ivan Dodig, who is playing a live rubber for the first time against Germany’s No. 1 Philipp Kohlschreiber. They have never met before. Croatian captain Goran Prpic opted to play the in-form players, rather than choosing the more experienced Ivo Karlovic who has a win-loss record of 2-1 against Kohlschreiber.
“My only dilemma went away after the tournament in Marseille,” he said. “Marin Cilic reached the final, once again playing his best tennis. Marin had some health issues earlier this week, but he is ready, otherwise he would not play.”
Easy choice for Kuhnen
Prpic may have had one headache, but for German captain Patrick Kuhnen there were no problems picking his team.
“The court plays well, the teams are evenly poised, but I hope to break the tradition of home victories when Croatia and Germany play,” said Kuhnen. “Also there was no dilemma who will play for us, and to tell you the truth, I expected Dodig instead of Karlovic.”
Cilic did not start the year well, losing in the first round of Chennai and the quarterfinals of Zagreb – two tournaments he won last year. But, he came back strong in Marseille, playing some of his best tennis on the way to the final.
Cilic said: “I’m ready to play the first match. Dodig will be playing his first live rubber so it’s maybe better for me to open. It will be a tough match, I’ve lost both times to Mayer, but that will have no bearing on the outcome of this match. The match I lost to Mayer at Zagreb Indoors was much better for me than the first one at Wimbledon.”
Mayer will be playing the first match of a Davis Cup tie for the first time in his career.
When asked about it, he replied: “It’s not a problem for me. It’s going to be as difficult as always. I beat him twice, but this is another week and another match.”
Dodig the unknown quantity
Dodig has never had a better start to the season. The only player to take a set against Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open, the young Croatian went on to win his first career title at Zagreb.
“There is some tension but I feel ready to play,” said Dodig. “My results in the past months gave me confidence, and that will help.”
Kohlschreiber, meanwhile, admitted to not knowing much about Friday’s opponent, Dodig.
He said: “Apart from the fact that he serves big and that he is big fighter, I know almost nothing, but I’m certain that Patrick (Kuhnen) has in his little black book all I need to know about his game!”
The full draw is listed below.
R1: Marin Cilic (CRO) v Florian Mayer (GER)
R2: Ivan Dodig (CRO) v Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
R3: Ivan Dodig/Ivo Karlovic (CRO) v Christopher Kas/Philipp Petzschner (GER)
R4: Marin Cilic (CRO) v Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
R5: Ivan Dodig (CRO) v Florian Mayer (GER)
Captain Goran Prpic (CRO) - 03/03/2011
Marin Cilic (CRO) - 03/03/2011
Captain Patrik Kuhnen (GER) - 03/03/2011
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) - 03/03/2011