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Czech team seeks Davis Cup redemption

Aniket Mishra
572   //    17 Sep 2015, 14:26 IST
Czech India team Davis Cup 2015
The Czech and Indian teams ahead of their Davis Cup match-up in New Delhi

Champions in 2012 and 2013 and then a fighting away loss to France in 2014, the team from the Czech Republic have managed to remain extremely consistent through Davis Cup campaigns till they lost at home to Australia in July earlier this year.

Playing without Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych who starred in the title winning campaigns, coach Jaroslav Navratil’s men bowed out of the World Group first round; a 0-2 comeback from Thanasi Kokkinakis against Lukas Rosol gave Australia an unlikely lead before 2 singles wins from Bernard Tomic sealed the tie. Ranked first in the ITF Rankings, it came as a massive jolt, especially since they now need to win a playoff to retain their place in the top tier of the tournament.

The gaffer though, seemed buoyed at the prospect of redeeming themselves and achieving the aforementioned against lowly India, a team which hasn’t made the World Group since losing in the 1st round in 2011, “We stand a really good chance of qualifying from here. All our players have been in good form and over the last 3 days or so, we have adjusted to the conditions here pretty well.”

Additionally, the statistic that they have won each of their 3 ties vs the Indians adds to Navratil’s enthusiasm, “We have managed to come up with some really good performances in the past. As formidable as the Indians are now, hopefully we will manage to do the same over the weekend here.”

Seemingly unperturbed by the occasion, he had earlier opted to stick to the tried and tested duo of Jiri Vesely and Lukas Rosol for the singles. He however, didn’t rule out the legendary Radek Stepanek taking court if the tie reaches a decisive 5th match, “Anyone can step in if there be the need. Can be him (Stepanek), can be anyone else. I hope we wrap up before that though (chuckles).”

As unlikely as it seems though, the fledgling crowd here at the RK Khanna stadium would want Navratil’s boys to be stretched to the limit over the next three days and maybe, just maybe keep the top seeds away from the World Group and in turn delay their bid at redemption!