Zim tennis team goes into Uruguay tie as underdogs

Tennis ball and racket

THE Zimbabwe Davis Cup team has admitted that it will go into the Davis Cup World Group tie clash against Uruguay as underdogs but believes it has the arsenal to upstage the South Americans.

The first and second singles will be played at Harare Sports Club this morning with Zimbabwe’s second seed Courtney Lock clashing with Uruguay’s top seed Martin Quevas before his brother Benjamin takes on Ignacio Carou.

Mehluli Sibanda, who was supposed to play singles, pulled out through injury to leave the Lock brothers to play the single and doubles.

Courtney is relishing the opportunity to give Zimbabwe the impetus.

Zimbabwe hopes to take advantage of playing on the hard court with their opponents favouring clay.

Winners of this tie will stay in Group 2 while the losers will be relegated.

“We know most of the guys, the doubles player has just come from the Australian Open. He is in the top 30 of the world, he is a very good player. We have played multiple tournaments with him and against him, we have seen him on the court. The singles guys as well, Benjie and I have played about three months in Southern America last year so we got to know them, we got to know their game styles and they played on the clay. So, obviously they prefer clay, so we have a little bit of an advantage there but they are world-class players. There is a reason why they are number one seeds in the group and we definitely are the underdogs coming in but we love playing at home and we are really excited,” he said.

Uruguay team captain Enrique Perez said they have had enough time to acclimatize.

“I think it’s good to know who is playing first and second but as I said these days we know each other . . . every player knows who is going to play but everything is being done to play good tennis this weekend,” he said.

“This is one of the reasons we arrived a little bit earlier before (to familiarise with the environment). Normally we arrive on Sunday or Monday but in this case we arrived last Friday. I believe six days of practice is enough . . . so we are ready to go tomorrow (today).”

Zimbabwe’s non-playing captain Takanyi Garan’anga is confident of his team.

“I think the order of the matches are good. Courtney has been ready to play all week and it’s a bit unfortunate that Mehluli is injured. We will have doubles the next day then the reverse singles. So, playing first tomorrow for Courtney is a good thing for him. These guys have been playing on the professional tour for quite some time, I don’t need to be imposing what they are going to do and they will be managing themselves out there. The things that they have been doing will kick in,” Garan’anga said.

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