Monday,19 March, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1268, (29 October - 4 November 2015)
Monday,19 March, 2018
Issue 1268, (29 October - 4 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Davis Cup draw

Egypt hosted the Davis Cup’s Europe /Africa Zone Group III for 2015, Ghada Abdel-Kader reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Under the supervision of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Egyptian Tennis Federation (ETF) hosted the Davis Cup Europe /Africa Zone Group III 2015, the world’s largest annual international team competition for men.

The Davis Cup draw was held on Sunday at the Smash Tennis Academy. In attendance was ETF president Israa Al-Sanhouri and board members Amr Al-Sallali and Nahela Badran. The championship was scheduled at Smash in Cairo from 26-30 October.

 Countries participating were Egypt, Algeria, Ghana, Tunisia, Benin, Namibia, Mozambique and Libya. Nigeria withdrew. Matches were played before Al-Ahram Weekly went to press.

The eight teams were divided into two round-robin pools. Algeria, Namibia, Ghana and Tunisia were in Pool A while Pool B included Benin, Egypt, Mozambique and Libya.  

The Egyptian team included its top seed Mohamed Safwat, Karim Maamoun, Sherif Sabri and Karim Hossam. The team is coached by Mohamed Mamoun and fitness coach Ahmed Shaaban. Safwat won the ATP Challenger Double in Casablanca, Morocco, from 12-17 October.

Mamoun played for Egypt from 2000 to 2010. He was the African U14 and U16 champion. His best ranking was 270 in the world and was a Davis Cup player for 10 years starting in 2000.  

Mamoun told the Weekly that this was his first year to coach Egypt. He’s been on the job for six months. “There is good harmony between me and the players. I follow up on their championships and plan for others.

“This year, in Davis Cup Group III, our biggest rivals were Tunisia and Benin. Egypt has a good chance to be promoted to Group II next year. We prepared well the last few months in Cairo and played several championships abroad.”

Junior players Youssef Hossam and Akram Al-Sallali will be substitute players on the squad. Hossam is the junior African champion and Al-Sallali is the second best Egyptian junior U16. Safwat is ranked 218, Sabri 719, Maamoun 499 and Hossam 875 in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour world rankings.

Mamoun added, “Maamoun is the second player on the team. He reached the semi-final in the Future Championships in Sharm El-Sheikh and Salmaniya. Sabri, the older player on the team, has good experience. Hossam, 21, is a promising talent. If he focusses more on tennis and turns professional he can compete among the top 200 in the world. Tennis needs dedication and to sacrifice many things to be able to compete at the highest level. I chose juniors Hossam and Al-Sallali to train with the team to gain more experience.”   

The Davis Cup format is a round robin basis. The teams are divided into pools A and B. Each pool has four teams. The winner of Pool A will play off against the runner up of Pool B. The runner up of Pool A will play off against the winner of Pool B to determine which two nations will be promoted to Europe /Africa Zone Group II in 2016.

Egypt first played in the Davis Cup in 1929. Its best performance was reaching the Europe / Africa Zone Group I semi-finals in 1982 and 1985.

In 2014, Egypt and Morocco were relegated to Europe / Africa Zone Group level III for 2015. In the Europe/Africa Zone Group II first round, Moldova defeated Egypt 4-1 in Cairo. In the playoffs, Egypt was beaten by Ireland 2-3 in Ireland.

In 2013, Egypt and Morocco were promoted to the Davis Cup’s Europe / Africa Zone Group II for 2014 after winning their playoff against Zimbabwe and Madagascar. In the promotional play-off, Egypt defeated Zimbabwe 2-1, while Morocco beat Madagascar 2-0. A year before, in 2012, Egypt was relegated to Group level III and Ireland remained in Group level II. In the Europe /Africa Zone Group II first round, Latvia defeated Egypt 3-2 in Cairo. In the playoffs, Egypt was beaten by Ireland 3-2 in Cairo.

The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport. One of the cornerstones of the tennis year, this prestigious event gives players the chance to represent their country in an otherwise individual sport.

 Founded by Dwight Davis in 1900, the Davis Cup began as a challenge match between the United States and the British Isles, which was held at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston. Davis himself played in the inaugural Davis Cup tie, steering his country to the first of many title victories.

 The US has won the Davis Cup 32 times, more than any other nation.

 BNP Paribas replaced NEC as title sponsor of the event in 2002 after joining the Davis Cup family as an international sponsor in 2001.

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