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Davis Cup team optimistic

Zimbabwe Davis Cup team non-playing captain Martin Dzuwa has declared that the country will win promotion to the fashionable 2015 Euro/Africa Zone Group II as the team readies for the qualifiers set for Egypt next week.

By Munyaradzi Madzokere

Zimbabwe faces 11 other countries namely Algeria, Benin, Congo, Botswana, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria and Rwanda at the Smash Tennis Academy in Cairo, Egypt from September 8 to 13 in the race for two upgrade slots.

The teams will initially be split into two round-robin pools, with play-offs set to determine which two teams are to be promoted.

“This is our year. Everybody in the team believes that this is our year to gain promotion into the Davis Cup Euro/Africa Zone Group II. Everybody wants to be promoted and we are looking forward to the challenge in Egypt,” Dzuwa said.

“Last year we came really close and eventually lost to the hosts Egypt in the final round. This time chances to progress are very high because we now have Benjamin Lock in the team and the players that we have are still playing in a lot of ITF Futures tournaments,” he said.

Last year Zimbabwe missed promotion by an inch, going down 1-2 to hosts Egypt in the play-offs after Takanyi Garanganga won his singles match while Fynn lost his and the two paired in a losing cause.

The former Mufakose High School tennis gem will lead a team that comprises Zimbabwe’s number one tennis player Takanyi Garanganga (24), newcomer Lock (21), Mark Fynn (29) as well as Tino Chanakira (25).

Team Zimbabwe meets in Cairo this Thursday and will have three days to train together and adapt to Smash Tennis Academy’s hard courts.

Promotion to the more challenging tier means the country will compete with some of the top teams from Europe and Africa on a one on one basis, unlike the round robins of the Africa Zone group III which they occupy at the moment.

Dzuwa also shared the long term plan of the team with regards to participation at the Davis Cup tournament.

“Should we be promoted, we plan to establish ourselves first in Group II before we target the Elite World group but with sponsorship, more juniors playing in Futures tournaments and others turning pro, I see us making it back into the World group,” he said.

Zimbabwe made it into the Elite World group in the late 90s with Byron and Wayne Black, and Kevin Ullyett at their prime and claiming the major scalp, of Australia, as well as gallantly battling an Andre Agassi-inspired USA at the City Sports Centre.

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