PerthNow columnist and grand slam contender Matt Ebden looks ahead to French Open after Davis Cup win
THE end of one chapter marks the beginning of another in the tennis world and my latest one opened with 24-hours of flying from Brisbane, to Perth, to Singapore, to Frankfurt and, finally, to the Croatian capital of Zagreb, where I write this column.
After a strong performance in Brisbane over the weekend, Australia whitewashed its Davis Cup tie against Japan 5-0.
The bigger picture is that we are now only one tie away from regaining a place in the Davis Cup World Group for next year, which consists of the top 16 tennis playing nations.
West Australian grand slam contender Matt Ebden joined the PerthNow and The Sunday Times column team last week. To read his opening column, 'World on the line for Aussies', click here.
Australia will play-off in September against a World Group country facing relegation after.
As we are a challenging nation we will, more than likely, play an away tie - unless we pick up a seeding if the individual rankings of players in our team are high enough.
Possible nations we may have to compete against if we do not receive a seeding are USA, Germany or Sweden.
If we are to get a seeding, we could have a home tie against countries such as Belgium, Italy, South Africa or Brazil.
In the past two play-off ties we haven’t had much luck having to play Chile in Chile and Serbia in Serbia, both on clay and against some of the toughest clay court opponents in some of the most hostile venues in the world.
But that bridge will be crossed in September. For now, the French Open looms.
After the Davis Cup, I took a 5hr flight from Brisbane back to Perth before flying a 5hr flight to Singapore the following day with a connecting 12hr flight to Frankfurt and finally a 1hr30min flight to Zagreb, Croatia, where I will compete in the Zagreb Open on clay leading into the Paris slam next week.
The rest of the team will take similar journeys with Lleyton (Hewitt) and Handles (Paul Hanley) returning to Europe for the Madrid Masters, Looch (Peter Luczak) also returning to Europe for a lead-in tournament and Carsten (Ball) flying back through the US, also to play a lead-in tournament on clay.
We will then all converge on Paris for the French Open at Roland Garros from May 23-June 6.
This year could mark a turning point for Australian tennis on dirt after hosting our first Davis Cup tie on clay in seven years.
It was a strong week and we can now take to the European courts with more experience and confidence behind us.