Harel Levy, new Davis Cup captain..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Less than 24 hours after Eyal Ran surprisingly announced his departure, Harel Levy was named on Monday as the new captain of Israel’s Davis Cup team.
After 12 years at the helm, Ran decided to step down and leave the team effective immediately, just one month before the blue-and-white faces Romania in a decisive tie against relegation to Europa/ Africa Group II.
The Israel Tennis Association wasted little time in finding a replacement, bringing in one of the country’s greatest ever players to fill Ran’s shoes.
The 39-year-old Levy reached a career-best ranking of number 30 in the world in June 2001, but his career took a fateful turn for the worse that same summer. He suffered a right hip injury and went on to spend much of the remainder of his career on the Challenger circuit.
Nevertheless, he remained an integral part of Israel’s Davis Cup team until his retirement, registering an overall singles record of 20 wins and 16 losses for the blue-and- white and helping the national team to the competition’s semifinals in 2009.
“First of all, I’d like to thank the outgoing captain Eyal Ran for his amazing work as a player and as a captain over the past 12 years and I hope I can follow in his footsteps,” said Levy.
“I had the honor of representing Israel as a player and now I’ve been called up for a very important mission with the national team. We will do our best to keep the team, the coaching staff and the players in Group I.”
The 45-year-old Ran, who played for Israel’s Davis Cup team for six years in the 1990’s, was the captain during the team’s memorable run to the semifinals in 2009. The blue-and-white and Ran enjoyed far less success over recent years, last playing in the World Group in 2013.
Israel’s 5-0 defeat against Ukraine this past weekend was its second straight whitewash, a humbling streak the team last experienced 50 years ago. Israel will host Romania over the weekend of October 20-22 in a tie it must win to avoid relegation to Group II for the first time since 2001.
Romania dropped to a 4-1 defeat to Austria on Sunday. Romania’s No. 1 Marius Copil (83) didn’t play in the tie, with Nicolae Frunza (611) and Bogdan Borza (707) playing in the singles. Israel visited Romania in the first round of Group I two years ago, and was beaten 5-0.