Defeat as a Victory: Ovations for Underdogs in Davis Cup

Total Croatia News

Franko Škugor missed out on bringing Croatia to a sensational victory over Spain and making it into the Davis Cup quarterfinals, but what he demonstrated this past weekend against Pablo Carrena Busta and in the narrow defeat by Roberto Bautista Agut, the 29-year-old Šibenik native rightfully hopes he will play more of such matches in the future and make it to the best one hundred players of the world

“Currently I am completely empty after a tough week and weekend. It is up to me to push the season onward, rise up and use this level of play and transfer it to tournament results. I need to try to push through and play such matches more often. You saw it’s not impossible. The difference between me and those I played with is that they can maintain the higher level of game longer than I can. But, I held out a tough match despite some falls. If I stay healthy, there is no reason no to raise my level and keep it there,” said Škugor after a great weekend in Osijek, Jutarnji List published on February 5, 2017.

He achieved his greatest career victory against Pablo Carrena Busta, but two days later, despite a fierce fight, he couldn’t break Roberto Bautista Agut, although the 16th world player showed signs of weakness at the end of the fourth set.

“I played a good match. Didn’t start well, too slow. Made some mistakes and was a bit slower due to muscle inflammation form the first match. But I kept up a good game until the end. There were moments when my concentration fell on the service, that may have cost me the match. He also saved some tough points. Those details may have been decisive,” analysed Škugor his defeat.

Despite the defeat, the Osijek crowd thanked him with ovations at the end of the duel.

“The audience was phenomenal. In the fourth set, after I made a break for 5-5, I got chills from the noise they made. It’s not up to me to decide, but I did say before the match that I am certain the atmosphere will be good. I always have a good time in Osijek, and the locals showed they deserve to host such events.”

Coach Krajan was in the end satisfied with his players.

“Before the matches it looked like we would fight to gain a set or two. We were close, congratulations to the boys and the audience. They made their stand. They showed they are ready to win matches against the best teams in the world. Franko stood out and proved the team does not necessarily have to include Marin Čilić and Borna Ćorić.”

There are seven months left to the September qualifications. Enough time to heal wounds and straighten out misunderstandings which left Croatia in Osijek without three of its best players.

“I don’t know what will happen by then. I hope they will all answer the call. They all had good reasons not to show. We will need them for the qualifications and the World Group. I hope they will return,” feels Krajan.


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