Davis Cup: Argentina will face the Czech Republic in Guillermo Coria’s debut as captain

The Argentine team of Davis Cup, captained by Guillermo Coria, will try return to the Finals of the contest at the end of 2022. For this, it must be imposed in the series of next March (4 and 5), by the “Qualifiers”. After the draw carried out in the city of Madrid, it was determined that the Albiceleste rival will be the Czech Republic, as a local. A quite favorable draw for the Magician’s debut.

Although the record between the two countries favors the Czechs, who won three of the four clashes between the two, the present seems to be more beneficial for Argentina.

Diego Schwartzman, leader of the Argentine teamBildagentur Zolles KG / Christian Hofer – Bildagentur Zolles KG

Czech Republic only has one player in the Top 100: Jiri Vesely, which is currently ranked 83rd in the ATP rankings. Then he can be joined by several players who are relegated: Jiri Lehecka (140), Zdenek Kolar (142) and Thomas Machak (143).

In this new stage for Argentine tennis, the team will surely be led by Diego Schwartzman (13th in the world) and by Horacio Zeballos (6th in doubles). It remains to be seen if the captain decides to add prominent players from the new generation such as the brothers Juan Manuel and Francisco Cerúndolo or Sebastián Báez, among others.

After the 4-1 victory of last September against Belarus, in the brick dust of the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, Argentina won the ticket to climb from World Group I to the “Qualifiers” (the filter to reach the Finals ), where the 16 nations that “came down” from the Finals played this season will compete, plus the ten that came up from GM I.

This is how the classification table for the Davis Cup 2022 World Group remained
This is how the classification table for the Davis Cup 2022 World Group remained

Argentina has not played in the Davis Cup Finals since 2019, in Madrid. That year, with the captaincy of Gastón Gaudio, the national team lost in the quarterfinals with Spain. In March 2020, after losing 3-1 to Colombia in Bogotá for qualifying for the final phase (also with Gaudio as driver), the series between Argentines and Belarusians had to be played in September last year, but the Finals and all classifications they were canceled due to the pandemic. For this reason, Argentina lost the opportunity to participate in the Finals, at least, until 2022, since beforehand it had to revalidate its place in the so-called World Group I (an action that it achieved this year against a weakened Belarus).

It is worth remembering that from 2022 the Davis Cup Finals will have 16 teams (4 groups of 4 teams) instead of 18, as it was in 2019 and this season.

Coria’s bond with the Davis Cup as a player was not friendly. He had a late debut, in February 2004, already being 4th in the world, in 5-0 against Morocco, in Agadir. In 2005 he played the last three series. The first of them, precisely against the Czech Republic at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club. In that match Argentina won 5-0 and he beat Tomas Berdych and Jan Hernych. Then, he participated in the series against Australia (4-1), in Sydney, where he lost to Lleyton Hewitt and, fed up with so much provocation from his rival, took his genitals, and in the 4-1 defeat of the semifinals against Slovakia (him they recriminated having reached the limit in Bratislava after playing the ATP final in Beijing).

A young Guillermo Coria throws champagne at David Nalbandian in the only Argentine win over the Czech Republic, in 2005
A young Guillermo Coria throws champagne at David Nalbandian in the only Argentine win over the Czech Republic, in 2005ENRIQUE MARCARIAN – X00175

“I didn’t play much at Davis and it upsets me. I would have liked to play more. Those times left me many learnings. When we hang out with former players or in the chat we have we always say that we were a bit immature. Maybe it was because of the demand, there were many of us, I was taking you and there were frictions that, ultimately, did not work, “Coria told LA NACION, during his presentation, last October.

As said, Coria was part of the only Argentine victory against the Czechs, in 2005. Then, they were all defeats. In 2009, in Ostrava, Del Potro won his singles, against Berdych and Radek Stepanek, but Moncao lost his and could not do much the doubles either. It was 2-3 in the quarterfinals.

Then there are two defeats in the semifinals, in 2012 and 2013, for the same result: 2-3. The most painful, without a doubt, was the first, in a series at Parque Roca, which seemed on track … but in which everything collapsed due to the injury of Juan Martín del Potro, who could not play the last day.

The series in which the link was broken: Jaite, Argentine captain in 2012 and Del Potro, during the series against the Czech Republic that was going to change everything
The series in which the link was broken: Jaite, Argentine captain in 2012 and Del Potro, during the series against the Czech Republic that was going to change everythingArchive

The Tandilense had arrived with a wrist injury and joined the team late. After beating Stepanek, he burst into tears due to the stress to which he was exposed, between the pain and the bad relationship he had with the team’s drivers. Monaco touched the feat, but fell in five sets to Berdych. After the fall in the doubles, Del Potro announced that he was not fit to play on Sunday.

It was the break in the relationship with Martín Jaite, the captain at that time. Del Potro announced that he would not play the following year. It was precisely in 2013 that it was the last series, with the fall 2-3 that does not reflect the Czech forcefulness, since Monaco and Mayer fell to Stepanek and Berdych (who also won the doubles from Berlocq and Zeballos). On the last day, with the series defined, Zeballos beat Lukas Rosol and Mayer beat Vesely.

The other two antecedents predate the separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The dissolved Czechoslovakia won 3-2 at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis in 1980 (José Luis Clerc and Guillermo Vilas lost to Ivan Lendl, who won all three points) and 5-0 in the 1987 quarter-finals in Prague ( De la Peña and Jaite could do little against Miloslav Mecir and Karel Novacek).

Ivan Lendl and Guillermo Vilas, in the 1980 series
Ivan Lendl and Guillermo Vilas, in the 1980 seriesArchive

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Davis Cup: Argentina will face the Czech Republic in Guillermo Coria’s debut as captain

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