OSIJEK, February 2, 2017
Franko Skogor will open the first round Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie for Croatia against Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta, before Ante Pavic will face Roberto Bautista-Agut on Day 1 in Osijek. This is the result of Thursday’s draw ceremony, held at the Croatian National Theatre.
Carrena-Busta has played just one Davis Cup singles tie, beating Romania’s Adrian Ungur in a dead fifth rubber last year. However, the World No. 26 will fancy his chances against both Franko Skugor as well as Ante Pavic in the reverse singles rubber on Sunday.
“I remember Spain playing the final in 2000 in Barcelona with Juan Carlos Ferrero and Alex Corretja They are incredible memories for me. We have a good team this year with Roberto Bautista Agut and experience with Feli Lopez, Marc Lopez and Rafa Nadal so we have a chance of doing well in 2017,” Carreno-Busta told about his memories when he was eight-year-old, watching the 2000 Davis Cup final, in which Spain defeated Argentina.
Spain is making its first appearance in the World Group since 2014 after spending two years in Europe/Africa Zone Group I.
“Last year we fought very hard to get into the World Group and here we are. It’s very exciting. We have a strong team. Robert is playing unbelievable. Pablo is getting better and better every year,” Spain’s Davis Cup captain Conchita Martinez told and added:
“There is always that uneasy feel especially when you play away. They choose the court, they choose the balls, Davis Cup is a different competition. Sometimes you feel a bit of tension. Some people have bad experiences when they cannot handle the pressure but hopefully [my] players have experience.”
The Croatians, last year’s finalists, begin their 2017 campaign with a somewhat weakened team. The hosts are missing their three top-ranked players.
“The Spaniards definitely are the favourites but we also know what kind of surprises the Davis Cup can bring, so we must believe in ourselves and hope that something like that will happen to us,” Croatia’s Davis Cup captain Željko Krajan stated.
Skugor is the host’s top ranked player and will make his fourth Davis Cup appearance.
“It’s a lot more responsibility than the one from last year but I’m ready for it,” the World No. 223 is looking forward to the clash with Carreno-Busta. “We’ll see how this will end. I know Pablo pretty well, as we spent a lot of time together on the ATP Challenger Tour, before he had his breakthrough last year. I know his strengths and weaknesses. He is a very solid player but I will certainly have my chance.”
Franko Skugor (CRO) vs Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)
Ante Pavic (CRO) vs Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
Marin Draganja & Nikola Mektic (CRO) vs Feliciano López & Marc López (ESP)
Franko Skugor (CRO) vs Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
Ante Pavic (CRO) vs Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)