Israel's top tennis star, Dudi Sela.
(photo credit: ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
Israel’s Davis Cup team will host Slovenia in the first round playoff of Group I at Hapoel Tel Aviv’s new Drive-In Arena. A hard court surface will be laid out on the arena floor especially for the tie which will take place over the weekend of July 17-19.
For the first time since 2006, Israel lost in the first round of Group I earlier this month, dropping to a humbling 5-0 thrashing in Romania.
The blue-and-white, which is in danger of being relegated to Group II for the first time since 2001, will host Slovenia in a contest from which the winner will maintain its status, while the loser will play a tie against relegation.
Elsewhere, Rafa Nadal is confident he will be ready to compete in this week’s Miami Open despite turning his ankle in practice, the second seeded Spaniard said on Tuesday.
Nadal spent over an hour practicing on Tuesday and later admitted he was still in pain from twisting his ankle a day earlier but assured he would be on court on Friday for his opening match.
“In the beginning I thought it was going to be the end of the tournament,” Nadal told reporters. “But I don’t know now, I don’t think so. I think I am going to be able to compete here. “Today, if I have to say one thing, for sure I am going to be on court on Friday.
“Another thing is I don’t know how well I am going to be prepared...let’s see, if every day I am improving.”
Nadal will face the winner of the match between Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky and fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro and the draw has thrown up a potential quarterfinal clash against Czech Tomas Berdych.
The world number three lost in the quarterfinal at Indian Wells to Canada’s Milos Raonic but the 28-year-old said he felt his form was improving as he begins his chase for a first Miami title.
“Every week I am competing,” said an upbeat Nadal, who has 27 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, more than any other player, but has never found the winner’s circle in Miami despite reaching the final four times. “I am improving a little bit. That gives me confidence, positive feelings and positive energy.”Reuters contributed to this report