Davis Cup: Austria likes itself as an underdog

In Group F, the Olympiaworld, which is actually designed for 7,000 fans, is now in front of empty stands for group victory. The big public festival, against Novak Djokovic and Co. on the one hand, and the traditionally heated duel with Germany on the other, is canceled. The fact that you are playing in singles without the current top 100 player doesn’t make the task any easier, but the mode with only two instead of four singles and one doubles opens up more opportunities.

In the second Innsbruck group (C) France, the Czech Republic and Great Britain meet. The respective group winners will play a quarter-finals on Tuesday (4:00 p.m.), and the two best runners-up from all pools (two more in Madrid and Turin) have the chance of another quarter-finals in Madrid. Austria can only dream of this due to the initial situation, but of course Stefan Koubek’s team will try everything to make this dream come true.

Looking forward to a showdown with Djokovic

“They are all in a good mood. Dennis can add one more slice to the match, the other two are pretty much tied, ”said Koubek at a Zoom press conference with German captain Michael Kohlmann. By the other two, the Carinthian means Gerald Melzer and Jurij Rodionov. “You can see that Gerald has gained confidence from the last few weeks. Jurij may not have that, but he has the ball super on the racket ”, reported Koubek, who only wants to decide at short notice who is the second single man next to Novak. “The players know. We just want to announce the opponent as late as possible.

Meanwhile, it is certain that there will be the duel “Novak against Novak” in the second game after 4:00 pm on Friday: Dennis Novak against Novak Djokovic – the number 118 in the world against the number one. The 28-year-old from Lower Austria is of course a clear outsider against the 20-time major winner in the first encounter with the Serb. “It’s probably the biggest match of my career, and also the most difficult task there is on the field right now. I’m well prepared, I feel good and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s match, ”said Novak.

“Can catch him on the wrong foot”

“As a player you know that you really have to put in a very good performance. You are focused from the start, there is no warming up, especially not against Nole,” said Koubek, looking back at this match. The full concentration is anyway automatically given. “You know you’re playing against the absolute best in the world.” His number one is a player who has always performed very well in the Davis Cup, and about Djokovic: “You can get him on the wrong foot. That can happen here, too. If Dennis is in a good mood, he can at least annoy him properly.

“We have known about Dominic for a long time that he will not be there, but the lack of an audience is pretty tough for us – especially against the ‘Deitschen'”, he said with a smile while looking at his counterpart of the DTB troop Michael Kohlmann. “That would have been interesting. The audience in Garmisch back then was also amazing, there is always a special atmosphere, and that’s a shame. ”But all complaining is useless. “We will do everything we can to ensure that we seize and seize our opportunity.”

According to Novak, it is important to conjure up a bit of the “spirit of Moscow”: “I think this is an example that we are very happy to mention because we did an incredible job there, even though we were the underdogs,” recalled 28 -Year-olds on the sensational 3-1 away win over the Russians in April 2018. “We have a great doubles and three good singles players, anything is possible, we will try that too over the weekend.”

0: 5 balance against Germany

Despite many historical encounters, especially those in Unterpremstätten (2: 3 in 1994), Austria holds against Germany with a 0: 5 balance. Kohlmann, who has to do without Olympic champion, Vienna winner and ATP finals triumphant Alexander Zverev, also regrets the lack of fans. “Innsbruck is not far from Munich, we would have had a relatively large number of people here. Of course, the home advantage is definitely not to be discussed away and it would have been a particularly great atmosphere for us too. The stadium would certainly have been very well filled against Austria, Novak Djokovic and Serbia, ”said Kohlmann.

He hopes his team, led by Jan-Lennard Struff, will bring the performance to the field. “And we are expanding the series (against Austria, note) to 6-0.” Kohlmann also sees Serbia as absolute favorites. Both Austria and Germany play in the group of three against the Serbs. “It’s an important game for both of us. After this game it will be decided whether we still have a theoretical chance or not, ”said the German. “We want to go to Madrid, we don’t care whether we are first or second,” he said fiercely.

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Davis Cup: Austria likes itself as an underdog