Tennis / Bring on Luxembourg, says confident Noam Okun
By Rami Hipsh
Israel's Davis Cup team was in a buoyant mood yesterday in its press conference ahead of this weekend's Europe/Africa Zone Group 1 tie against Luxembourg.
Luxembourg's top player is Gilles Muller, ranked 115 in the world. Muller has beaten Israeli No. 1 Noam Okun twice, and although Okun is ranked 53 places below Muller, he was confident he would defeat him on home ground.
"I have seen Muller playing this year and he is not in top form," Okun said. "He has beaten me twice in the past, but I raise my game at home, and especially in the Davis Cup."
Expectations of Dudi Sela are also high after the world No. 168 made the second round of the Australian Open, losing only after a marathon, five-set battle with Russia's Marat Safin.
"The Australian Open gave me a lot of confidence," Sela said. "I believe I can beat any player outside of the Top 20."
Doubles duo Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich will make up captain Eyal Ran's team for the encounter.
"When I was in Australia, I scouted Luxembourg's No. 1 racker Gilles Muller, and we are learning his weak points ahead of the match," Ran said.
"The other Luxembourg players are relatively anonymous, and we have very little information about them. But we are concentrating on ourselves, and not on our opponents."
Making up Luxembourg's team are Laurent Bram, ranked 1,104 in the world; Gilles Kremer, ranked 1,421; and Mike Schweidweiler, who is unranked.