Germany captain Patrik Kuhnen awaits Wednesday’s draw for next year’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, insisting that his team fears no-one after sealing a 5-0 victory over South Africa in Stuttgart.
A straight sets success for Andreas Beck over Izak van der Merwe, followed by a three-set victory for Florian Mayer against Rik de Voest, completed the rout, and Kuhnen awaits with interest to see who his team will draw for the 2011 edition.
He said: “It’s Davis Cup, and of course you have teams like Spain – if they play with Rafael Nadal – that would be very tough to beat.
“But if it comes down to playing Spain, then we’ll play Spain. It’s always challenging in Davis Cup, but I wouldn’t say there’s a team I don’t want to face.”
Ready to continue
Kuhnen also insisted that he’s ready to continue in the role as Team Captain for as long as he is required. The most decorated player in Davis Cup history – having won the competition three times – Kuhnen has been in charge since 2002, but has no qualms about staying on.
The 44-year-old told me: “I’m prepared to stick with it. I have got a lot of fuel in the tank.
“My relationship with the Federation is great and we’ll have talks soon about me continuing in the job, which I’ve been doing it for eight years now. I love it. I’m still on fire, and I can see myself going on.”
South African injuries
South Africa’s bid to return to the World Group for the first time since 1998 ended as early as Saturday, with defeat in the doubles. By that stage they were 3-0 down, having also succumbed in Friday’s singles rubbers. But, try as they might in Sunday’s reverse singles, they were unable to register the point their efforts genuinely deserved.
Team Captain, John-Laffnie de Jager, commented: “The guys tried their best and I’m so proud of them.
“It’s tough for us to come out here. We have nobody inside the top 100, apart from Wesley (Moodie) in doubles, and facing guys ranked in the top 50 in the world in singles. I genuinely feel we can take a lot out of this tie.”
South Africa’s hopes were hindered even before they set foot in Stuttgart, with leading player Kevin Anderson forced to withdraw a week before the tie due to a foot injury. They then had to switch around their doubles team on Saturday, after Jeff Coetzee sustained a hamstring injury.
De Jager, like Kuhnen, still has the hunger and desire to continue, and feels the team will be knocking on the door of the World Group even louder as a result of this experience.
He added: “If we get Kevin (Anderson) to play Davis Cup, all of a sudden we’re a very different team. Unfortunately he got injured, but if he plays we have somebody who can two matches in every tie, and then in doubles anything can happen.”
All the German players contributed, but special mention must go to local lad Andreas Beck. Having lost both singles rubbers on his debut last year, the 24-year-old was part of the successful doubles team on Saturday, and registered a second point with victory over van der Merwe in Sunday’s singles.