Allon sinai 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The simple fact that Dudi Sela was disappointed after his fourth round loss at Wimbledon says it all.
The 24-year-old Israeli had never reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament before, and to make matters even more complicated was also facing world No. 4, Novak Djokovic.
However, his performances in the first three rounds, combined with ever growing confidence levels, meant Sela truly believed that he was capable of beating the Serb.
"I felt like I can win this match. He is No. 4 in the world and it's the fourth round, but I wanted to win this match," Sela said.
By advancing to the last 16 at the All England Club, Sela not only guaranteed himself a career-high world ranking in the top 40, but also proved that he's continually progressing as a tennis player and that he is on course to realize his potential.
His disappointment following the defeat to Djokovic was a sign that Sela has finally exorcised the demons of past struggles and that he is poised for many more years among the world's top players.
All of this is excellent news for Davis Cup captain Eyal Ran ahead of next weekend's quarterfinal tie against Russia at the Nokia Arena.
Israel has never been past the quarterfinals of the competition, only once previously reaching the last eight, in 1987, and Ran knows his team has little chance of advancing if Sela doesn't win both of his singles matches.
Ran was with Sela at Wimbledon and is hopeful his number one player can maintain his form going into the Davis Cup weekend.
"I'm sure his run at Wimbledon will give him a lot of confidence," Ran told The Jerusalem Post. "Victories are always a good thing. We have put together a nice plan so he can pick himself up once more for the Davis Cup."
Sela, who said that the tie against Russia is more important to him than Wimbledon, believes the team can make history once more next weekend.
"Of course they are the favorites," Sela said. "But I believe in our team. We're also very good friends off the court. It's very important to be united. We're a very united team, and I think we have a chance."
Ran said he agrees with Sela's every word.
"The fact that Sela is winning gives everyone on the team more belief.
However, Russia is still the favorite and you can't change that. But we have proven before that our players can raise their level of play in the Davis Cup."
The biggest question mark ahead of next weekend surrounds the play of Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich.
The duo has barely played together since Erlich came back from an eight-month injury layoff two months ago.
"I don't think there is any point in worrying about something which you have no control over," Ran said. "They've played together a lot in the past and I prefer to look at the full half of the glass. I'm happy Yoni is fit and that they have plenty of time to train together. I hope they can bring us the very important doubles point."
All in all, Ran is confident ahead of next weekend.
"I believe in Andy and in Yoni and in all our players. I know they have the ability to win," Ran said. "I'm very positive ahead of this tie."