Tennis players start a tough group in Davis Cup with victory over Kazakhstan

The Greek Talon track beats the Kazakh Kukushkin.Reuters photo

In the group that also includes powerful tennis nations Great Britain and the United States, the Netherlands must finish first and second to qualify for the final week, in Malaga at the end of November. On Friday and Saturday, matches against the toughest opponents of the group await on paper on the indoor hard court track at the Emirates Arena.

Holland plays two singles and doubles against each country. Van de Zandschulp and Greekpoor won their singles against Kazakhstan, after which doubles specialists Wesley Kolhoff and Mattoi Middelkoop lost their match. It was a drawback to a good start, because the number of matches won can play a role in the end.

We are going to have a hard time. Leading up to the prestigious country championship, Harroes said, Great Britain and the United States are the favourites. “But if we play well we can beat those countries, I’m convinced of that. The goal is to qualify for Malaga.

It would be the first time the Netherlands have been able to qualify for the Davis Cup finals since the tournament was reshuffled in 2019. A poor profit model, a packed tennis calendar, and a long-running best five have forced the organization to put an end to the old setup, with home and away matches all over the place. a tour.

Group stage in four host cities

The group stage of the new Davis Cup consists of sixteen countries, divided into four groups. Glasgow is one of the four host cities where groups are played. The other host cities are Bologna, Valencia and Hamburg. With the best of three matches, the matches are shorter.

The top two numbers from each group qualify for the final week in November, where the top eight nations via the knockout system will decide who can call themselves the best tennis country. The Netherlands is the twentieth in the world ranking. Much less than Kazakhstan (9), Great Britain (8) and the United States (4).

However, there is optimism in the Dutch team. With Van de Zandschulp and Greekpoor, Captain Haarhuis has two tennis players who made it into the top 50 last year. Tim van Reethoven (107 in the world rankings) is the third highest-ranked singles player. He surprisingly won the ATP Championships in Rosmalen this summer and reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

After a long period in which Holland rested primarily on the shoulders of leader Robin Haas, Harhuis suddenly had the luxury of choosing which players to use in singles. And he also had to make a difficult decision in the doubles: Jean-Julien Roger, winner of the doubles at Roland Garros, was excluded from the selection, as was Haas (288th in the world ranking).


“Of course I’ve been working with these guys for some time,” Harhus says of contemporaries Van de Zandschulp and Grekenbauer (26) and Van Riethoven (25). I have seen that they have potential, but it is always doubtful whether this will actually be achieved. Of course you’d prefer not to hack them until they’re 28. But in recent years we’ve also seen players reach the top 100 at a later age.

According to Haarhuis, who has won 31 of the 47 Davis Cup games he has played as a tennis player, the process of playing full time and developing mental toughness takes longer than many think. The Davis Cup encounter with Kazakhstan, Great Britain and the United States is a new benchmarking moment for where the new generation of Dutch tennis players stands.

With Van de Zandschulp and Greek Spoor, this new generation is here, it shows. Now Tim is also joining ‘Harhoes,’ says Harhuis. He saw how Van de Zandschul (ATP-35) treated as a three-setter (3-6, 6-1, 6-4) with Kazakh leader Alexander Bublik, ranked 44th in the world. Mikhail Kukushkin (ATP-221): 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. And so the Netherlands had its desired start, with two tough confrontations ahead.

The British and the Americans

The British team includes three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray and ten players Cameron Norrie. The United States has the world’s best with Taylor Fritz (ATP-12), despite Francis Tiafoe’s withdrawal. The 24-year-old American reached the semi-finals at the US Open last week, losing to later winner Carlos Alcaraz.

Haarhuis is looking forward to matches with famous tennis nations. “The team is in good shape,” the captain said. “We have to believe that we can win every game, even against strong opponents.”

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