Zim confident of Turkey upset

HARARE – Zimbabwe is confident of success over Turkey in their Davis Cup Africa/Euro Group II tie which commences today at Harare Sports Club tennis section.

According to the draw conducted yesterday, the first match will pit Zimbabwe’s top seed Benjamin Lock against Turkey’s second seed Altug Celikbilek straight after the opening ceremony scheduled to start at 10am.

Takanyi Garanganga will take on the Turkey’s top seed Cem Ilkel in the second match of the day.

Tomorrow’s action will start with the doubles match which will see Lock and Garanganga team up to take on the visitors’ duo of Sarp Agabigun and Tuna Altuna.

Later on in the day, the singles reverse matches will then take place which will see Lock take on Ilkel while Garanganga plays against Celikbilek.       

Speaking after the draw, Garanganga said the hosts will not be fazed by the Europeans’ depth in this tie.

While Zimbabwe has only nominated two players to take part in all five matches, Turkey have travelled with two doubles specialists. 

“We are built for that. On the circuit we play one match singles and then we play the doubles match after you have rested,” Garanganga said.

“It’s not really much of an issue for me despite the weather conditions because the rains are coming down but playing both singles and doubles; I’m prepared for that. It’s not something that we can look at and say it will be a disadvantage for us.”

Rains pounded Harare yesterday and the weather forecast is predicting that there will be more rains over the weekend.

“I think I prefer the heat not for any particular reason but just because when the match starts you can finish it; there are not any stop and starts due to rain,” Garanganga said.

“For any sport you don’t want to have stop and starts but we will be ready for anything. This is not our first time because we have travelled around the world where there are different kinds of weather patterns.”

Zimbabwe last hosted a Davis Cup time more than two years ago, and playing in front of their home fans has Garanganga purring with excitement. 

“I’m a big fan of the supporters. I like it when we play at home. I just enjoy it coming home to play tennis and being with the family,” he said.

“One of the biggest things when the Davis Cup tie comes at home, people actually have a better understanding of the game of tennis and it’s a good thing.”

Celikbilek, who will be playing in his first Davis Cup tie for Turkey, admitted that he is feeling anxious ahead of today’s action.

“This is my first playing in a singles Davis Cup match and I’m playing against Lock; we have known each other from the past tournaments,” Celikbilek said.

“It’s going to be exciting for me and hopefully I will do my best to make my country proud of me.”

Speaking at the draw ceremony, Sports minister Kazembe Kazembe said: “To our Zimbabwean team, as you participate in this world event, the nation expects you to be glorious Davis Cup players as it rallies behind you. As government, we are fully behind you and we render our support in as much as possible.

“To our valued visitors, the Turkish Davis Cup team, we welcome you to our beautiful country Zimbabwe.”

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