An undermanned Slovakia are refusing to put up the white flag ahead of
their Davis Cup World Group playoff against Australia in Sydney.
The Slovaks are without their two best players – world No.31
Martin Klizan and 102nd-ranked Lukas Lacko – and enter their first meeting with Australia as big underdogs.
But captain and former Australian Open finalist Miloslav Mecir says
his charges are up for a challenge.
“We didn’t come to lose for free,” said Mecir on Tuesday.
“All the guys are big fighters and I hope they can produce some good tennis.”
Slovakia will likely be headed in singles by Jozef Kovaliz who, at
world No.123, concedes more than 100 ranking spots to Australia’s top two,
Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic.
However, Martin holds a surprise 1-0 head-to-head advantage over Kyrgios.
The 26-year-old beat Australia’s highest-ranked player in straight
sets at a challenger event in Germany two years ago.
“(That result) always gives you that confidence,” the 26-year-old said.
“Big challenge but hopefully we can do some really good results.”
Slovakia progressed to the final stage of World Group qualifying by beating
Hungary but have faltered at this point the past two years.
They must contend with a vocal Aussie crowd and a drop-in grass court at
Ken Rosewall Arena.
“They (Australia) are used to playing on grass much more than our team,” Mecir said.
“In my day all the junior tour (was on grass) … but these days it’s
less and less grass.
“But we’ve been many times in atmosphere like this, sometimes it’s
much better to play in atmosphere like this.”
Mecir said he would make a call on his two singles players at Thursday’s draw.