HAMBURG, September 12, 2022 (by Dietmar Kaspar)
Last day in Hamburg before Group-Stage action of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2022 kicks off at the Rothenbaum Tennis Stadium. Home team Germany and France, who will meet each other on Wednesday, spoke to the media this morning.
The press conference of Team Germany started with a big bang, as World No. 5 Alexander Zverev announced that he has to withdraw from the tournament held in his hometown. “I can only be part of the team supporting the other guys from the bench. During the practice yesterday with Oscar, I felt a new injury that caused me a lot of pain. After examining it, it turned out as a bone edema which will sideline me from the court for several weeks because there would be a risk for the future of my career,” said Zverev.
“I am so disappointed because I wanted to play in front of my fans in Hamburg. I tried everything in the last weeks to compete here, perhaps a little too much, but the situation is like this.”
🇩🇪 @AlexZverev has been forced to withdraw from Davis Cup Finals in Hamburg due to injury ☹️
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) September 12, 2022
Two-time doubles Grand-Slam champion Kevin Krawietz, who is projected to play the doubles rubber alongside Tim Puetz, said about the reaction of the team: “Sport can be so tough. Sascha was so early here in Hamburg to be prepared the best possible way, but it was not meant to be. We have to accept it and will look ahead with a great team anyway”.
German team captain Michael Kohlmann spoke about the current situation and the team’s unchanged goals: “First of all it is personally so bad for Sascha. He had such a lot of expectations playing in front of his home crowd. It is never easy for a captain to lose the top player of his team. From the beginning it was our goal to reach the Davis Cup Finals in Malaga and this will remain our goal. We reached the Finals in Madrid with a similar team last year, so it is still possible for this year.”
In addition to the expected singles players Oscar Otte and Jan-Lennard Struff, Yannick Hanfmann has joined the team and arrived in Hamburg at short notice: “I was in Szczecin preparing for the Challenger event when Michael called me. My first idea was to to do everything the help the team because I was member in Rio when we qualified for the group stage. It was such a great week there and it is always a dream for me to compete for Germany in the Davis Cup. I canceled my second practice session on clay in Poland yesterday and today I played here on hard court in Hamburg.”
Gasquet added to the French Team
Later in the afternoon, Team France talked to the press. It was a surprise to see Richard Gasquet as part of the French squad. Team captain Sebastian Grosjean explained the nomination of the former World No. 7: “I had nominated just four players, knowing about the opportunity to add another player. I saw Richard playing pretty well during the US-swing and I know about his experience in the Davis Cup. He is a team player and a great alternative for singles and doubles.”
About the new situation in the group with the withdrawal of Zverev, Grosjean commented: “We heard this morning about it. I was at Roland Garros during his match against Rafa and I wondered a bit about his attempt to play here, because it was a heavy injury with a big surgery. It is tough for him not to compete in front of his home crowd, but I am sure Team Germany, without Sascha, will also be a competitive opponent in the tie against us.”
Group-Stage action in Hamburg will start with the encounter between Belgium and Australia starting at 2 p.m. CET. For ticket information, please click here.