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24 May 2011

Austrian captain announces retirement


Photo: GEPAGilbert Schaller and Jurgen Melzer (AUT)

Gilbert Schaller, 42, has announced he will stand down from his position as Austria’s Davis Cup captain at the end of the season.

Schaller, who reached a career high world ranking of No. 17 as a player, enjoyed a five-year stint as skipper after taking charge of the team in 2007.

Austria dropped down to Group I in 2010, but Schaller led the side to an immediate return to the World Group and a first round tie at home against France earlier this year in March.

The fixture, which turned out to be a classic, was played at the unique venue of Vienna airport where a hangar was transformed into one of the more memorable Davis Cup arenas.

Jeremy Chardy was the unlikely hero for the visitors as he defeated Jurgen Melzer on the opening day before clinching the vital third point against Martin Fischer in the fifth rubber to hand France a 3-2 victory.

Austria’s next tie is in the World Group play-offs in September, which will be Schaller’s last in the courtside chair with a new captain then being appointed for 2012.

In a statement released by the Austrian Tennis Federation, Schaller said that he wants “to put all my energy into coaching young talents.”

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