Ecuador travels to Romania in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-offs in September, bidding to retain its place in the competition’s top tier.
Raul Viver, the captain of Ecuador’s Davis Cup team, is optimistic about his team’s chances and believes that victory in Bucharest could be the catalyst to Nicolas Lapentti delaying his pending retirement for another year.
“If we win against Romania I can see Nicolas Lapentti staying one more year,” said Viver. “For the team, it would be good to have him more years because I think the younger players can learn a lot from him.
“Nicolas is a great team player, a natural leader, and he increases the level of motivation for the rest of the players. In Davis Cup, he always plays his best level, physically and mentally. He demonstrated that last year against Brazil, winning both his singles matches and the doubles match.”
Lapentti has spearheaded Ecuador’s Davis Cup efforts in recent times, but Viver is optimistic that the future is bright as the next generation of players are working hard to break through into the senior ranks.
“There are good young players such Emilio Gomez, Roberto Quiros, Diego Acosta and Diego Hidalgo,” added Viver. “Also Ivan Endara, who is a bit older than the others but has a great career ahead.”
Viver also enjoyed a distinguished playing career himself, representing Ecuador between 1978 and 1990. During this time, he compiled a 15-13 win-loss record and played in the team that reached the World Group quarterfinals in 1985.
“I loved playing for Ecuador in the past and now that I can’t do it any more it is a great honour to be the captain of my national team,” said Viver.
“I have incredible memories in Davis Cup, playing with Andres Gomez and Ricardo Ycaza. It was unforgettable to win against Brazil to classify for the World Group (1983) and to beat Argentina in Buenos Aires (1985). I’ll also always remember that I gave the decisive point to Ecuador against New Zealand in the play-offs (1984).”
Ecuador’s only previous meeting with Romania ended in a 3-2 home defeat, in 2003. Razvan Sabau was the hero for the visitors after defeating Giovanni Lapentti 64 36 64 57 75 in the deciding fifth rubber.
On that occasion, also in the World Group play-offs, Ecuador was vying to gain promotion and Romania was fighting to avoid relegation. The roles will be reversed for September’s tie, but the score line could be just as close.