Week 5 (Davis Cup)


The 111th edition of the Davis Cup. This team competition lost its prestige five years ago (Croatia d. France in the final). Between 1981 and 2018 everything was clear: World Group consisted of 16 teams and the knockout system throughout the season, at least three rubbers were required to win each tie, all vital matches in the “best of five” format. Unfortunately, it’s been a mess since 2019 (the competition was not held in 2020 due to Covid-19); each year the new structure is differentiated by nuances, all rubbers are played in the “best of three” format though. In the first four editions with the new structure, the ties have been composed of three rubbers maximum in the season-ending event (18 teams divided into six groups of the first two editions, 16 teams in another two), the entrance to the ending event it’s a slight comeback to the tradition, yet the initial ties are played within two days not three like before (singles matches separated by doubles) following the Australian Open. Something that traditionally was called the ‘First Round of World Group’, currently is called the ‘Qualifying Round’ – 24 teams are gathered to emerge twelve teams who join four seeded teams (last year’s finalists and two teams with “wild cards”) in the so-called ‘Finals’ played at two levels (September – groups & November – knockout stage). In the new structure, dead fifth or third rubbers are not played. I don’t like the new structure at all…
In the most interesting tie (Trier), Germany lost to Switzerland. There was the only opportunity during the weekend, to see two Grand Slam finalists (& Olympic medalists) facing each other, albeit neither of them is in a form reminding their best years; Alexander Zverev outplayed Stan Wawrinka [135], but ultimately the Swiss team prevailed trailing 1:2 after doubles. Credit to the 37-year-old Wawrinka, who played six sets on Saturday (in the decisive rubber he defeated a debutant, Daniel Altmaier, a player who reminds Wawrinka, especially by the backhand technique). Wawrinka is the most experienced active Davis Cup player – he made his debut in 2004 losing a dead rubber vs Romania. I’d say that the only surprising outcome came from Espoo – Finland has only one representative in the Top 100 while Argentina has six, however, the team captain Guillermo Coria didn’t find in his team a player who would defeat Emil Ruusuvuori [43] – the only man to get 2.5 points during the weekend. Korea’s victory over Belgium in Seoul may also be perceived as a sensation, but Korea’s best Soon-Woo Kwon plays well lately, and two points from him could be anticipated; paradoxically he lost to a weaker Belgian, and Korea as the only team this weekend, came back from a 0:2 deficit after day one. “I tried to show my strengths as much as I could and tried to frustrate my opponent,” said Seong-Chan Hong [237] after the decisive match he won with a beautiful backhand lob. “As soon as I started, I thought it was working well today. The atmosphere was good before the game. Of course, I was very nervous, but I was also very excited. After the match point, I thought I showed it.” Borna Gojo [121] significantly helped Croatia to beat Austria. The almost 25-year-old player finds another gear when he represents his country; his main-level record it is a modest 11-11, and as many as nine wins come from team competitions (Davis Cup & United Cup)… Two ties were played on clay outdoors (Colombia, Chile – both South American countries), others indoors, albeit Portugal chose clay instead of hard, in vain, Portuguese leader João Sousa [84] lost both singles matches and painfully drops outside the Top 100 because a year before at the same time he claimed the Pune title.
Qualifiers (host first):
Croatia – Austria 3-1, Hungary – France 2-3, Uzbekistan – USA 0-4, Germany – Switzerland 2-3,
Colombia – Britain 1-3, Norway – Serbia 0-4, Chile – Kazakhstan 3-1, South Korea – Belgium 3-2,
Sweden – Bosnia 3-1, Netherlands – Slovakia 4-0, Finland – Argentina 3-1, Portugal – Czechia 1-3


The year 1993 marked the inception of ATP tennis in the Persian Gulf. In the first week of the year, the first edition took place in Doha (Qatar), and one month later – the first edition was in Dubai (United Arab Emirates). Despite twofold bigger prize money, Dubai didn’t draw similar attention in its inaugural event in comparison to the neighboring Qatar – in Doha arrived three Top 5 players while top-seeded in Dubai was Alexander Volkov, ranked no. 17. The final was eventually played on Monday afternoon (too strong wind & rain on Sunday) with Karel Nováček [23] defeating Fabrice Santoro [39], who became a regular Dubai visitor, making twelve appearances, eventually got his name etched on the Silver Dhow trophy in 2002, beating Younes El Aynaoui in a dramatic final (the Moroccan also participated in the first edition and would play there nine more times being the crowd favorite as a native Arabian speaker).
Marc Rosset [44], who skipped Australian Open, en route to his fourth title (Marseille), had the toughest match in the opening round as he ousted in an all-tie-break three-set battle Stephane Simian, the left-handed Frenchman, one of a few players wearing eye-glasses. It was the first of five matches of this kind in 1993. Quite unusual that among five players defeated by Rosset, four were left-handers (all operating with one-handed backhands).
The 40-year-old Jimmy Connors [90] played the last semifinal of his extraordinary career in California. Connors had to retire because of a bone spur in his right foot facing Brad Gilbert [25]. There was 6-1, 1-4 for the nine years younger American, so fans of Jimbo could believe he’d reach his first final since 1989. In the final Gilbert miraculously avoided a straight-sets defeat to Andre Agassi [9] who entered the season in February for the sixth year in a row. He would do the same the following year, and it might be considered an important aspect of his longevity – while the majority of players had only one month of a break between seasons, in Agassi’s case it was two months which accumulate additional seven months of rest when he reached 25. Björn Borg [776] was finally able to win a set. The 36-year-old Swede, an 11-time Grand Slam champion, came back to the tour in Monte Carlo ’91 and since then he suffered nine 0-2 defeats on the ATP tour. It was the last professional event when two legends of the game, the best players of the 70s, Borg & Connors entered the same draw…
…Finals 1993…
Dubai (1M $, hard outdoors)
(3)🇨🇿Karel Nováček d. (8,WC)🇫🇷Fabrice Santoro 6-4, 7-5
Marseille (500K $, carpet indoors)
(6)🇨🇭Marc Rosset d. (8)🇳🇱Jan Siemerink 6-2, 7-6(1)
San Francisco (275K $, hard indoors)
(1)🇺🇸Andre Agassi d. (2)🇺🇸Brad Gilbert 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-2
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