Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
IT’S just a day to go before Zimbabwe take on Turkey in the first round of the Europe/Africa Group II tomorrow at Harare Sports Club and Mehluli Sibanda, the youngest player in the team, is positive they can upset the visitors.
The draw for the tie will be held this morning at the match venue and matches start tomorrow with the first two singles.
They will be followed by the doubles and reverse singles on Sunday.
It’s promising to be a thrilling contest as Zimbabwe, who bounced back into Group II after beating Kenya in the promotional play-offs last year, would want to ensure they retain their slot in the Group before they embark on an away tie in the second round against either Poland or Slovenia in April.
Zimbabwe ranked 24 places below their opponents go into this tie with an underdog tag.
“It means a lot, Davis Cup is always the best week of the year for me practicing with older guys and I am really prepared for this one and I think we can take it,’’ said Sibanda.
“Davis Cup, it’s a really big one, I think we kind of have to win this one so that we don’t have to play for the relegation and then a lot of pressure.
‘’I think we must focus on this one and try take this one.’’
The 18-year-old, who has been on the rise of late, claiming two titles in the ITF 18-and-Under South Central Circuit in Harare last August, dedicates the achievement to his involvement with the Davis Cup team.
“Last year we had two weeks practice here and then I came and won two titles here, Under-18, and I think it was because of practicing with the team and it does make difference,” said Sibanda.
The other members of the team are Benjamin Lock, who is coming in as Zimbabwe’s number one player, followed by Takanyi Garanganga and Mark Chigaazira.
This will be the third meeting between the two countries having previously met in 1983 and 2008.
In their first meeting Zimbabwe emerged winners before the Europeans got their revenge when they clashed for the second time in 2008.
In their last tie last April, Turkey fell 4-1 to Sweden in Antalya in the second round of Group II.
Tennis Zimbabwe president Martin Lock also expressed his wish to see Zimbabwe taking this tie.
“This is the match we want to win because we have the home advantage. We don’t want to rely on playing away from home, let’s not look further down the road because we know that the next match will be either Slovenia or Poland and both of them are away.
“So playing here the high altitude suits us, the fast court suits us, the home crowd, the drum beating, the fans suit us,’’ he said.
Article Source: The Herald