FRANKFURT, February 2, 2017
Germany’s Philipp Kohschreiber and Steve Darcis of Belgium will be first up at the opening round of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie between the two nations on Friday.
Belgian captain Johan van Herck has sprung a surprise by handing Arthur de Greef his Davis Cup debut. The world number 143 will take on NextGen star Alexander Zverev in the second singles rubber.
“All four players practiced very well the last couple of days but Philipp and Alex stood out,” Germany’s team captain Michael Kohlmann explained his decision and added that he was also surprised that Arthur de Greef was picked for the singles rubber.
“I am really looking forward to open the tie,” Kohlschreiber said. “I know Steve very well. He is a clever player and I expect a tough fight.”
The proximity of Frankfurt to the Belgian border is something that Steve Darcis is counting on this weekend.
“We will have a big crowd,” said Darcis. “It’s really not far from Belgium, like 400 km, so for sure there will be lots of people with us. That could help. In Davis Cup when you have the crowd behind you, it can help the players. I heard it’s going to be packed, and that’s good for us.”
In Saturday’s doubles rubber, Mischa Zverev and Jan-Lennard Struff will take on Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore.
“This is only my second tie,” told Mischa Zverev, who stunned Andy Murray at the Australian Open and returns to the German squad. “I’ve not been part of Davis Cup since 2009 so I’m very excited to be part of the team, to be nominated, to represent my country and feel you belong because of the ranking and also I’m very excited because my brother is part of the team too, so that’s kind of unique opportunity to gather new experiences together and something memorable and hopefully we can seal this new experience with a win. That would be a phenomenal week.”
It is the ninth meeting for the two nations but their first in almost a decade. Both teams last met in a World Group quarterfinal in Ostend in April 2007, when Germany won 3-2, wrapping the tie up in the doubles rubber on the second day of play.