The France team faces this Thursday, behind closed doors in Austria, the Czech Republic (from 4 p.m.). A match within reach to launch the final phase well.
In the deafening silence behind closed doors – imposed by the Austrian authorities in the face of a resurgence of the damn pandemic – will French tennis wake up in Innsbruck? History of offering a little enchanted parenthesis at the end of a catastrophic season where disillusions were linked: no player and player in 8e in the final of a Grand Slam, only one title in men’s singles for Ugo Humbert… The Blues who enter the competition this Thursday at 4 pm against the Czech Republic do not start favorites to lift the Silver Bowl for the eleventh time since 1927 and the first since 2017. Captain Sébastien Grosjean took to Innsbruck a private group of his two best players in the ATP ranking. Gaël Monfils, 21e world, was worn pale just like Ugo Humbert, 35th. Veteran Richard Gasquet, 35, fell back to the 86e place, 30 matches played in Davis Cup, will try to bring a little experience, he who is playing his… fifteenth campaign. Adrian Mannarino, he played only two matches and only one meeting in Davis Cup, in 2018 against the Netherlands and Arthur Rinderknech discovers this event.
“We must make a real collective effort, adapt to the situation and we will do our best to go to Madrid”
But this “ team B “Des Bleus does not leave as an expiatory victim, either. The experienced pair Nicolas Mahut / Pierre-Hugues Herbert, is his undeniable strong point, especially as the two friends, former world number one in the specialty, have just won a second title in the Masters doubles and have an excellent record of in this event (7 wins, 2 losses). But his two lovers of the real Davis Cup will have to sublimate themselves in the non-atmosphere of Innsbruck. “Behind closed doors, we won’t see much difference compared to what we experienced in Madrid», Quipped Nicolas Mahut at a press conference. Two years ago, the Blues had, it is true, played in almost empty stands when they faced Japan in their first match. “For us, the excitement is the French team’s tracksuit, the pride we have in wearing it, the fact of representing France and going far in the competition.», Continues the current 5e 39-year-old doubles world. “It will be a difficult atmosphere with the closed door which is imposed, outbid the captain of the Blues. Even on the bench, the guys will have to wear the mask. Afterwards, the players will have to find energy other than through the public, but they have already experienced that when the circuit resumed in the United States last year. We have to make a real collective effort, adapt to the situation and we will do our best to go to Madrid.».
Towards a Davis Cup relocated to Abu Dhabi?
If the world numbers one and two Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev responded, ten players of the World Top 15 are missing in an event more than ever in the dark. Wednesday evening, the British daily The Telegraph asserts that Kosmos, Gérard Piqué’s group, would have signed a five-year “deal” with… Abu Dhabi, which would therefore host the final phase of the event for the next five years. While in our columns the president of the FFT Gilles Moretton pleaded for a return to the home-away format, it seems that Kosmos has other ideas far removed from what made the magic of this event. Enough to bury the soul of this legendary century-old competition a second time.