Israel's captain in the Davis Cup tournament, Eyal Ran..
(photo credit: ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
Israel Davis Cup captain Eyal Ran admitted the national team faces some tough times after being condemned to Europe/Africa Zone Group I for another year following Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Argentina in the World Group playoffs.
Defeats by Dudi Sela and Bar Botzer in the final two singles rubbers Israel’s dream of returning to the World Group and the blue-and- white will discover in Thursday’s draw who it will play next year.
The loss to Argentina means Andy Ram is expected go ahead with his plan to retire, which he announced back in April. His 37-year-old doubles partner, Yoni Erlich, has yet to decide if he will play on for another year, meaning Israel could well find itself without both veterans in 2015.
The future of Amir Weintraub is also shrouded in doubt after he failed to recover from groin surgery in time for the tie against Argentina after admitting during the rehab that his career is in danger.
“The next two years could be tough,” said Ran. “We have some good young players who need to come through but for sure we will need to think of the transition that we will need to make soon.”
The 20-year-old Botzer, ranked No. 773 in the world, showed plenty of promise over the weekend in Sunrise, Florida. He looks set to become an integral part of the new-look blue-and-white, but he ended up claiming just one set in two singles matches against Argentina and is clearly still not ready to fill the big shoes left behind.
“For sure I am disappointed, I had more expectations of myself following my first match on the first day,” said Botzer. “I need to raise my physical ability. I was able to win one point but then played badly in three others, so there is still room for me to improve my level.”