Dudi Sela .
(photo credit: YONI ARIELI)
Israel enters this weekend’s Davis Cup relegation tie against Romania as a massive favorite, but new captain Harel Levy remains wary ahead of the showdown in Ramat Hasharon for survival in Group I.
Israel’s 5-0 defeat against Ukraine last month was its second straight whitewash, a humbling streak the team last experienced 50 years ago.
After 12 years at the helm, captain Eyal Ran decided to step down and leave the team effective immediately.
Levy was quickly brought in to guide the team as it tries to avoid relegation to Europa/Africa Group II for the first time since 2001.
The blue-and-white could have hardly asked for a more comfortable opponent in such an important tie. Romania’s No. 1 Marius Copil is not part of the squad, meaning No. 463 in the world, Dragos Dima, and No. 600 Nicolae Frunza will be playing for the team in the singles.
Edan Leshem (285) plays Dima in the first rubber on Friday before Dudi Sela (70) faces Frunza. Sela and Yoni Erlich are scheduled to play Bogdan Borza and Vasile Antonescu in the doubles on Saturday, with the reverse singles to be held on Sunday.
“I don’t like to talk about expectations, but I’m certain that if we do our best we will past this test,” said Levy. “People are saying that Romania has given up on this tie, but we know very well that rankings are almost insignificant in Davis Cup play and anything can happen.”