Juan Martin del Potro will try to lead Argentina to history this weekend and become the 15th different country to win the Davis Cup title when his team travels to Zagreb to take on the home standing Croatians on the hard courts.
Argentina has tried and failed four previous times to win the Davis Cup final, losing in recently in 2011 against Spain in Buenos Aires.
Argentina will have the services of del Potro along with Federico Delbonis with Leonardo Mayer and Guido Pella in the doubles.
Croatia, champions in 2005, will counter with Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic and in the doubles it’s Ivan Dodig and Franko Skugar who replaced Borna Coric, a late scratch due to knee surgery recovery.
If the 37-year-old Karlovic wins a singles rubber this weekend, he would be the oldest man to win a singles rubber in a Davis Cup Final since Great Britain’s Charles Dixon (aged 39 years 297 days) defeated Australasia’s Rodney Heath in 1912. He would be the oldest man to play in a singles rubber in a Davis Cup Final since Australian Norman Brookes (aged 43 years 48 days) in 1920.
“Actually I dont know what to make of it. Is it good or is it bad?” said Karlovic of the note. “Maybe it is good, because my career was really long. That’s why I’m still here!”
“I would like to be a little bit younger, but this is life, we all have to get old one day. It’s good that I’m still here.”
Del Potro will open against Ivo in the second Rubber on Friday.
“I’m very, very nervous,” Del Potro said. “We think they are the favourite to win, but we are very proud to be here and we trust in our team.
“It’s going to be a really difficult match for me. Nobody wants to play against a server like Ivo, but this is the Finals, everything can happen, I will try to be very smart on Friday.”
The day will begin with Cilic against Delbonis.
“I was hoping to start the tie,” said Cilic. “I’m a favorite in that match against Federico but I still know that Federico is a great player. We know what both of us are capable to do. If I can get the win it’s going to be a little bit less pressure on Ivo and a little more pressure on Juan Martin.”
Argentina is a perfect 3-0 against Croatia but 0-4 in Davis Cup finals.
“It destructs you if you think about that,” Orsanic said of their winless record in finals. “All we must do is our best in each of the rubbers, then we will see what the result is.”
DAVIS CUP FINALS SCHEDULE
R1: Cilic vs. Delbonis
R2: Karlovic vs. Del Potro
R3: Dodig/Skugor vs. Pella/Mayer
R4: Cilic vs. Del Potro
R5: Karlovic vs. Delbonis
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