When he won the last point of training, Matwe Middelkoop asks captain Paul Harhuis, “Am I recruiting now?” For the record: It was a singles match and so it’s a joke for the doubles player who is sure to pass the form in his major. But she does characterize the atmosphere in the Davis Cup team’s open practice at the National Tennis Center in Amstelveen. They work hard and laugh a lot, in fact the usual recipe when Dutch tennis players get together for a country match.
In Glasgow, the team will play the Finals next week, which is a semi-final. In a group with Kazakhstan, Great Britain and the United States, the top two countries qualify for the real final week in November. Not so long ago, that seemed too ambitious for the Netherlands, but a lot has happened since this time last year.
Two solo players made it into the top 50 thanks to good performances are Botic van de Zandschulp and Tallon groenpoor. Tim van Reethoven won the herbal championship at Rosmalen, then suffered dwarfism at Wimbledon and is close to the top 100. In doubles, Harhuis had the “luxury” to be able to choose among the world’s top three players, as Jean-Julian Roger lost to Middelkoop and Wesley Kohlhoff .
However, a number of players returned early and in a minor switch from New York, where the US Open is still underway. Van de Zandschulp, who defended the quarter-finals last year, was out of fitness and lost in the second round. The Greek track played his “worst game ever” and fell straight away. Van Reethoven miraculously survived the first round, playing well in the second round against Casper Ruud, who eventually reached the semi-finals, but was disappointed as he missed opportunities to beat the Norwegian. Middlekop has had no more than one match in both doubles and mixed doubles.
So the rackets stayed in the bag for a while, the early days in Holland. “I’m tired of tennis,” says Van de Zandschulp, who spent more than five weeks in the US. “Actually for the first time this way. I’ve played a lot this year, I know now. If I start training for training, or play a course I don’t really want to play at all, you already know it’s not going to go well. Tennis is my job too. , sometimes not everyone feels it, but I have to be new both physically and in my head and not anymore.”
After about five or six days without tennis, he was excited to hit the court again on Wednesday. “Getting rid of tennis for a while has worked. I went to Go Ahead Eagles-Fyenoord on Saturday.”
Greek track and van Reethoven visited Formula 1 in Zandvoort. “It gave me energy,” says Van Reethoven, who has been a fan of motorsports for a year and a half. “Very cool to see what unleashes the passion of Max Verstappen, the greatest athlete in the Netherlands.” De Brabander called himself the “Third Man” on the Davis Cup team. “I will come to cheer and stand by when needed.” While making the best impression in New York with Gijs Brouwer. But in terms of classification, this is a fact that I should not be framed. If that happens, you won’t hear me complain, of course.”
Van Reethoven only played the so-called “dead rubber” in the Davis Cup in 2015 and 2016, the parties that are no longer important to winning the meeting. “But I haven’t felt it yet. I remember Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka being in the stands against Switzerland. It really made an impression. It’s special to be back with the team now.”
Captain Harwis is hoping his players will make it as difficult as possible for him in the coming days, in terms of squad. “We are in good shape. It will be tough, but we have a chance against every team.”
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