Russia will have to play their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group playoff against Brazil for the second consecutive year. Last year, Russia won a hard-fought tie 3-2 playing at home with Dimitry Tursunov winning the final match against Ricardo Mello.
One of the members of the Russian team on that occasion was Igor Andreev who lost to Brazil No. 1 Thomaz Bellucci. The Russian speaks to DavisCup.com and gives us his views on the tie.
- How are you physically?
IGOR ANDREEV: In general, good. I’ve played a lot of games this year. I was playing a lot of “qualies” (qualifying matches played before a tournament) at the start of the year. Winning matches, even if they are qualies does you good because it gives you a lot of confidence and I feel good physically as well.
For now, the injuries that have plagued me over the last few years seem as though they are getting better, which is very important.
- How did you feel when you found out that you would be playing against Brazil in Brazil?
I.A.: It is going to be hard, that was my first thought because last year we played in Russia and only just won. It will not be easy for us because we will have to stay after the US Open, go to Brazil to play, then after that we have to go to St Petersburg which is a home tournament, it is not an easy schedule but it is what it is and there is nothing we can do about it. We have to go to play.
- Are you expecting a hostile crowd in Brazil?
I.A.: Yes, Davis Cup is always a very special tournament in terms of the crowd and in South America they take it even more seriously than a football match. Yes, it is going to be tough but we have experience of playing in Brazil, in Chile and in Argentina.
We are hoping for a tough match in all aspects – the tennis as well as the crowd.
- Do you like playing with the whole stadium against you knowing that you can silence it yourself?
I.A.: Yes, the good thing about the Davis Cup is that it is so alive, above all for the fans and us as players, we feel most alive when we’re on the court.
- What’s going to be the key to the series? Which are the greatest difficulties you could encounter and what tricks do Russia have?
I.A.: We know that they have Bellucci, who is their No. 1, and in Russia he gave us a lot of problems. If we can win one match against him, great, if we can win two we will have the advantage. The doubles will be more difficult because they have a good doubles pair.
Above all we have to prepare ourselves mentally for a tie which will be very hard and we know that we are not favourites.
- Brazil have played seven playoffs to get into the World Group in the last six years and have lost them all. Do you think you can make the most of this psychologically, this pressure to finally win?
I.A.: At the end of the day things on the court are not decided by statistics, that’s my way of seeing things. Each time different players play and anything can happen. We will not be thinking about statistics, they can if they want to, but we won’t.
Brazil – Russia will be played in Sao Jose do Rio Preto (Brazil) from 14 to 16 September