Tennis: Davis cup team look forward on return to Israel

Tennis Davis cup team l

yon erlich bummed 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
yon erlich bummed 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Israel's Davis Cup team returned home on Monday with mixed emotions, but already focused on next years competition. Despite the disappointment of losing 4-1 to Spain in the semifinals of the competition, the players and captain felt they gave their all in Murcia and were proud of reaching the last four of the prestigious competition for the first time in Israeli history. The national team will not need to ponder the loss in Spain for long as on Wednesday it will already learn the identity of its opponent in its next tie in 2010, when the draw for the first round of next year's World Group takes place in Geneva. Israel is seeded seventh in Wednesday's draw, but is still likely to face a tough opponent next year. The team could be drawn to visit Roger Federer's Switzerland, Novak Djokovic's Serbia or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's France, and will also have to play on the road if it is paired with Belgium or Chile. Eyal Ran's men will be hoping to be drawn against either India or Ecuador, who are the weakest of Israel's possible opponents. The host in each of those ties will be determined in a draw, meaning Israel might also have home-court advantage for those encounters. "We only have a two in seven chance of hosting next year's first round, and that also depends on a draw. However, that is what we are hoping for," said Ran upon the team's arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday, refusing to name the side he would prefer to face. "It was difficult playing without the home support in Spain. Only when you are abroad you understand how significant the fans' support is." Yoni Erlich spoke of the excitement of playing against Spain in the Davis Cup semifinals. "It was an amazing experience," said Erlich. "For Spain it may have been just another tie, but for us it was a remarkable achievement." Also Monday, Shahar Pe'er climbed 11 places to number 46 in the world after winning the Guangzhou Open in China on Sunday.