Germany eager to end 77-year wait against France
Germany are chasing their first Davis Cup win over France for 77 years when the sides meet in this weekend`s World Group I clash in Frankfurt.
Berlin: Germany are chasing their first Davis Cup win over France for 77 years when the sides meet in this weekend`s World Group I clash in Frankfurt.
Adolf Hitler was in power the last time Germany tasted victory on court over their neighbours when Germany beat the French 3-2 in Berlin back in 1938.
Since then Germany have lost all seven ties home and away to the French including their 3-2 quarter-final defeat in Nancy last year when the hosts fought back from 2-0 down.
An injury-depleted German team, missing top players Tommy Haas and Florian Mayer, gave the French a scare as the inexperienced duo of Tobias Kamke and Peter Gojowczyk won their opening singles matches.
France rediscovered their form, winning the doubles and both of the reserve singles rubbers to edge through to the semifinals.
Les Bleus bring a strong team to Frankfurt with both Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils, who reached the quarter-finals at last year`s US Open and had initially withdrawn from the team, ranked in the world`s top twenty.
French captain Arnaud Clement will be aiming to go all the way this year having lost the 2014 final to Switzerland.
"There is a good energy in the team which is a good omen for the first round," said Clement.
"What counts now is that Monfils is with us and wants to be with us."
The Germans have a new coaching team with 75-year-old Nikola Pilic as chief advisor to captain Michael Kohlmann.
"It will be very hard against the French, but the Davis Cup has its own laws and is unpredictable," said Pilic.
"Michael is the boss. And I want to help with my experience."
Munich-based Pilic has won the Davis Cup with three different countries and world number one Novak Djokovic is just one of the top names to have come through his academy.
He captained Germany to their three previous Davis Cup wins in 1988, 1989 and 1993 when the team boasted the likes of Boris Becker or Michael Stich.
He also won the 2005 title as team boss of his native Croatia and in 2010 as consultant to Serbia.
Germany welcome back their Number One Philipp Kohlschreiber, who had been in exile for the last 12 months following a disagreement with former captain Carsten Arriens.
The 45-year-old was fired as Germany captain last month, which paved the way for Kohlschreiber`s return.
"He is a very important man for this team," Pilic said of Kohlschreiber.
"I told him you can only be a hero in the Davis Cup, it`s where special things can happen."