Rui Machado will make his debut as captain of the Portuguese national team on the tie with Kazakhstan, access to the World Davis Cup Group, and assumes that players “want to win and make history” in Astana.
“We expect to play a great qualifier and leave Kazakhstan with the victory. Every time we play the Davis Cup it’s to do the best, represent Portugal in the best way and, if possible, make history. history, “he said, referring to a match that will determine the winning team for the Davis Cup final, to be held between November 18 and 24 in Madrid.
While Portugal will discuss access to the World Group for the third time, after 1994 against Croatia and 2017 against Germany, Kazakhstan will fight for the return to the final phase of a test, which has already reached five times the quarterfinals, playing at home in the National Tennis Center, where he has 10 wins in the last 11 rounds.
“He is a very strong team at home, where he has a great record of victories. He has a very experienced number one (Mikhail Kukushkin, 55th ATP) who has presented an excellent level in the Davis Cup and in the world circuit and is well known (Alexander Bublik) and three (Aleksandr (Nedovyesov) are also good players, one with a very aggressive tennis and the other one, who was once top-100, in the last few months has done good results. They are competitive opponents and it is sure to be a difficult tie, “predicts Machado.
Although he anticipates that “the main difficulty will be to play away from home, under the conditions that Kazakhstan is used to and in its environment, in which players tend to surpass themselves,” Rui Machado believes in the “weapons” of Portugal, with players in great shape, very competitive level, experience and willingness to win and make history. ”
In addition to praising the “historic achievements of João Sousa”, number 39 of the ATP ranking, “year after year and still now at the Australian Open”, the captain ensures that the vimaranense arrived in Kazakhstan “very confident, with pace and in great level of form “to join Pedro Sousa (101st ATP), João Domingues (213rd) and Gastão Elias (246th).
“Pedro started the season on the fast track and made the last meeting with Alex Di Minaur, who had won in Sydney and was in excellent shape. very competitive at the Australian Open and was at the door of the main frame of a Grand Slam. And Gastão Elias, who has played some tournaments in the United States, has already made a semi-final in a challenger and seems to be on the right track for a return to its best level, “he said.
Although he has never disputed a qualifying for the World Group as a player, Rui Machado says he is “equal to responsibility” as captain.
“Playing the Davis Cup is always a big responsibility, whether it’s access to the World Group or not going down the division. We want to make history and we’ll go ‘court’ to win,” Machado says, even after the end of his competitive career, was “always involved in the Davis Cup as technical head of the Portuguese Tennis Federation, giving support to the then technical team and players.”