The chances of a successful season for the german tennis team are better than they have been for a long time.
After a promising start at the australian open with strong performances by alexander and mischa zverev, the team, led by the first pair of brothers in german davis cup history, enters the first-round match against belgium in frankfurt am main as favorites.
While the hosts will have their best players, the belgians will have to do without top player david goffin. "Of course, the absence of goffin increases our chances, we accept the role of favorites," said the german team manager michael kohlmann. His belgian colleague johan van herck sees it the same way. "I can only agree with him on that," said van herck. "But it’s still the davis cup, so a lot can happen."
Kohlmann still doesn’t know who will compete for germany in the singles on friday and who will play the doubles on saturday. "Everyone has had a good start to the new year and has performed well. Anyone can play singles," said the team manager.
It is most likely that alexander zverev and philipp kohlschreiber will start. In doubles, alexander and mischa zverev could be paired as brothers. "It’s a possibility, but it also depends on how the games go on friday," said kohlmann.
The two zverevs are the first pair of brothers to be nominated for the german davis cup team. Alexander zverev, the younger of the two at 19, does not want to overestimate the odds. "We are here as a team and what pays is that we get on," said the german number one.
The german hopeful had caused a stir last year with his cancellation of the relegation match against poland. But on tuesday the world number 22 showed himself to be a team player. "It’s not about the zverevs, it’s about the team," said alexander zverev, who gave late finalist rafael nadal a rough fight over five sets in melbourne.
"It certainly gives you confidence that you had a chance to win against one of the best players in the world over five sets," said zverev. His brother mischa, who is ten years older, even knocked world number one andy murray out of the tournament, before he lost to the late winner roger federer. Kohlschreiber also fulfilled his target by advancing to round three. Why the mood is good in the german team. "Everyone is fit, everyone is eager for the match," was how kohlmann summed up the initial situation with rough confidence.