Sunday 18 March 2018

Racquets: Cahill feels the need for speed to gain upper hand on Tunisia

Paddy Hickey

DAVIS CUP boss Garry Cahill admits Ireland are hoping to steal a march on Tunisia by reverting to a fast-paced court for the relegation play-off later this year.

After the defeat by Luxembourg 11 days ago, Cahill's charges face a sink-or-swim clash against the Tunisians, with the loser dropping down to Group 3 of the Europe-Africa Zone.

The threat posed by Gilles Muller, who pushed Roger Federer to a 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 7-6 (7/5) scoreline in the 2008 US Open quarter-final, saw Ireland opt for a slower-paced court for that Luxembourg reverse.

However, for the visit of the north African outfit on July 8-10 at the David Lloyd Riverview venue, Cahill has gone for a faster surface.

"It makes sense to have a faster surface for the tie against the Tunisians," explained former Fed Cup boss Cahill, who made his debut in the Davis Cup hot seat for the Luxembourg tie.


"Their players are used to playing on clay, so a slow court would suit them. There is no need to lay a new court or to carry out any major work. All that is required is for the court to be covered with a different type of paint."

Nevertheless, Cahill warns that there is no room for complacency.

"We'll be more at home on the surface than Tunisia, but that won't guarantee us the win," he said of the side which lost 4-1 to Great Britain in their first-round tie in Bolton.

"Their top player Malek Jaziri beat Jamie Baker, and he pushed the British No 1 James Ward to five sets on a surface that he wouldn't be that familiar with."

Meanwhile, after his clash against Muller in the Davis Cup tie, Conor Niland returns to action in next week's ATP Challenger Tour event in Bath, England.

Understandably, Niland was bitterly disappointed his 6-4 6-4 6-4 defeat by Muller in the second-last match, which deprived Ireland of a chance of hosting a plum second round tie against an Andy Murray-led Great Britain in July.

But it was always going to be a challenge for the Limerick man against a player who was far from being disgraced against Federer.

Irish Independent

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