Rainer will play singles and doubles (with Kiefer) in DavisCup for Germany against Israel from April 9-11. Let´s hope he wins his matches and gets some confidence again!! I´m going to Alsdorf on Friday and I´m happy I will see Rainer play
I found this article on Rainer on www.daviscup.com:
09 Mar 2004 - David Law
Schuettler Looks Forward to German Resurgence
While suffering the ignominy of Germany’s relegation from the Davis Cup World Group in 2003, Rainer Schuettler was otherwise enjoying the best year of his career.
In 2004, whatever happens to his individual season, he is desperate to put his nation back in the World Group where he feels they belong.
“I am very motivated,” said Schuettler, who ranks Germany’s loss to Belarus last September as one of the biggest disappointments of his career.
“Last year, for us to lose in Davis Cup, to go down, it was a nightmare. We wanted to stay in the World Group and we are going to try everything to play good this year and get back to the World Group again. It’s tough to do because there are so many good teams, but if we have the chance to play with our whole team we definitely have a good chance.”
Germany’s quest to do just that will begin on the 9th of April when they face Israel at home. If they win, then they will face a Play-off tie in September for the right to re-enter the World Group.
Schuettler concedes that Germany’s hopes depend largely on the fitness and application of his compatriots Tommy Haas and Nicolas Kiefer.
Haas had been out for over a year with a shoulder injury, while both he and Kiefer had, at one time or another, not played for various reasons.
Schuettler now believes that those issues are a thing of the past and all the German team needs is a bit of luck to enable them to stay injury-free.
“There is definitely the team spirit there,” said Schuettler. “I have a good relationship with Tommy and Nicolas. With Nicolas I played juniors together, with Tommy I met him a couple of years later but we are good friends. I think the team spirit is there but the whole team has to play together for not just one or two matches, but for three or four years, and then I think it’s just a matter of time before we’re successful.
“In the past it was often the case that somebody was injured and couldn’t play, somebody didn’t want to play for whatever reason, but if we have a chance for our whole team to play I think we have a strong team and can go very far. When I was young I followed the Davis Cup. It was one of the biggest things on TV. To be successful in Davis Cup is one of my goals this year and the first step is to beat Israel and then have a chance to get into the World Group again.
Haas made his comeback last month and Kiefer has reached finals in Memphis in February and in Scottsdale last week, so the omens are good.
For many people, the meteoric rise of Schuettler last year came as a surprise.
Haas and Kiefer had received most of the German headlines in the post-Boris Becker and Michael Stich era, but it was Schuettler who reached a Grand Slam final first – the 2003 Australian Open.
He may have lost in the final to Andre Agassi, but with some of the most consistent play anywhere on the ATP circuit, he reached No.6 in the world and qualified for the Tennis Masters Cup.
“There was a very good reaction in Germany after Australia last year,” said Schuettler. “There were so many people watching me on TV and supporting me – in my home town they were putting big screens up when my matches were on. It was surprising but fun to see so many people supporting me. During the year after I had so many good results, people in Germany recognised me and were happy that another German player was coming up.”
Now he faces the task that so many athletes find difficult – to follow a breakthrough year with another equally good one. Schuettler remains undaunted.
“I had a great year last year and it will be really difficult for me to do the same again, but I think actually my tennis is better than it was before,” he said. “I’ve practiced hard in the past few months and I don’t see why I shouldn’t have the same level of success as last year.”
And that can only be a good thing for his country’s Davis Cup team as well.