JAN KUKAL’S SME: We have a team of the future – Sport.cz

“That the Czech team had nothing to lose was a big advantage. The British did not know our players, perhaps they did not even see their fights with France.

Against the British, Macháč continued in great shape and played another excellent match. He is more of a promise for singles, he is not so emphatic in doubles. But he has fast legs, he returns well. Tactically, he is very advanced and he is a very coaching player. He lacks only one percent of the first service (59 percent against Evans). But the first hundred as a target is very few. To move to the top 50, he would need the same care he had in the Davis Cup.

The same Lehečka. It was certainly not a mistake that Captain Navrátil had sent him to Norrie. The Brit the day before, he played a fantastic first set with the Frenchman Rinderknech, but in the second he played badly and deflected two sets. The same thing happened again today, just a pity that Lehečka was a little scared of the chance and Brit then turned him off regularly in the third set.

Photo: Leonhard Foeger, Reuters

Czech tennis player Jiří Lehečka in a Davis Cup duel with Cameron NorriePhoto: Leonhard Foeger, Reuters

The problem for players who have nothing to lose, they are well prepared and in shape, is that they have to believe that it can be won. Norrie was 100% defeated, having played over 80 singles and twenty in doubles this year. Fatigue plays a role for him, but also responsibility, when a clear point is expected. Nevertheless, Lehečka threatened the 12th player in the world, but unfortunately he did not succeed in starting the match and then the start of the third set. In the end, Norrie showed that she has something to do this year. He was in the final six times, winning the Indian Wells title. This is different than when you are out of the top 100. The ending is played differently for you.

The team probably missed one more player. A tennis player who loses a single and has to double in half an hour has problems. If they played Leheček and Macháč in doubles, it probably wouldn’t be enough, but the match would probably be tighter. Doubles must be trained in this Davis Cup format because they are key points. Those doubling specialists are not great players, as I observed at the Masters. In the first set, I didn’t like Skupski at all, Salisbury played his standard.

Veselý as our number one has a great deal of credit for the fact that the Czechia played the final tournament at all. but at the moment he was not completely in shape. He’s probably a little overweight. He’s never been the fastest and he’s hard at the moment. But the service will work for him and he will definitely show something else, he is only 28 years old.

Anyway, we have the team of the future. It’s just a shame the boys couldn’t play another match. The Davis Cup has always been an important thing for our players. The team worked well, the bench lived that way.

And the organizers also learned when they divided the final tournament into three cities. A lot of people looked at this format with distrust, but I think it will work. And for challenger players, where ours, apart from Veselý, still belong, it is a great opportunity to compete with top players. “

Jan Kukal

Tennis champion of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, long-time Davis Cup representative, later coach. His teammate in doubles used to be Jan Kodeš, with whom he also played in international tournaments. They reached the semifinals of the French Open 1972 and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon 1973. With Czechoslovakia. the team achieved victory in the Federation Cup in 1983. As a coach, he worked with Ivan Lendl, Hana Mandlíková, Thomas Muster and Jiří Novák.

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JAN KUKAL’S SME: We have a team of the future – Sport.cz