The Croatia Davis Cup team will meet Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals this weekend in Varaždin.
The Croatian tennis team gathered in Varaždin on Monday to prepare for the Davis Cup quarterfinals against Kazakhstan, set to take place from Friday to Sunday this weekend. For the first time, the team trained on the ground floor of the Varaždin hall, reports Gol.hr on April 2, 2018.
Marin Čilić and Borna Ćorić, who was ranked among the top 30 tennis players in the world for the first time in his career, Viktor Galović, Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektić will lead Croatia in the quarterfinals. The same composition, apart from Mektić who replaced Franko Škugor, defeated Canada 3-1 in the first round in February.
“We have the best team on the court. We are playing at home, and we are certainly a great favorite against Kazakhstan who has had success in this competition over the past few years, but mainly because they often played on their home turf. The team is not to be underestimated. In Davis Cup, you should not underestimate anyone because we all know what surprises can happen. We are favorites, we have players in form, we have not been defeated in a couple of years, and we definitely have a great chance. But we have to be careful,” said the Croatian coach Željko Krajan.
This round of the competition will be played on clay courts, which is the foundation the Croatian composition chose as the host. Will this, more than anything else, be a factor that gives Croatia more chances, as Kazakhstan usually prefers a speedy court?
“We are in a similar situation as we were against Canada in Osijek two months ago – our players were more responsive then, even though clay courts are not a priority. But for us, we are better on clay than some other nations who don’t have as many tournaments on clay and need to adapt. This is also true for Kazakhstan who prefers hard courts. This is reflected in their results when they play at home on fast courts compared to the tournaments they play elsewhere. They play the least on clay and have the worst results on clay courts. This is an advantage of being the Davis Cup host, and surely this can be a surprise that will, I hope, be on our side,” says Krajan.
How much stronger is this Croatian team compared to other nations in the competition?
“We are definitely at the top, but to rank the national teams as number 1 or 2 is hard to say. I already said in Osijek that we are strong and that this year we will be even stronger because we felt Borna’s progress and that he is on the right track, and that he will have better results throughout the year. With Marin, who has already established himself at the Davis Cup, is Borna in the number 2 position, and he is a player no one wants to play against. We have our doubles, and with Ivan Dodig we are strong. We are a team that can do a lot at the Davis Cup,” concluded Krajan.
Translated from Gol.hr