Junior Davis Cup
The Netherlands are the 2006 Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas champions and Belarus are the 2006 Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas winners after both teams had to fight through deciding doubles rubbers in a thrilling final day at the Real Polo Club in Barcelona.
The Netherland’s two stalwarts Xander Spong and Tim Van Terheijden joined forces to defeat Russia’s Vladimir Karusevich and Vladimir Zinyakov to take the vital third point in the boys' competition with a 6-3, 6-3 win. In an equally compelling girls’ final, Belarussian Ksenia Milevskaya scored a surprise 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Junior World No.1 and two-time junior grand slam champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before joining forces with her compatriot Ima Bohush to take the third point for Belarus.
For Dutch boys’ captain Frank Van Fraaijenhoven it was a particularly special moment to watch his team clinch victory. 19 years ago he captained a talented young Dutch side to the final of what was the then called the World Youth Cup, the forerunner to the Junior Davis Cup. That 1987 squad, which included a young Richard Krajicek, lost to Australia in the final. As Van Fraaijenhoven put it, “It’s great to come back 19 years later and finally win the trophy!”
Van Fraaijenhoven said the Netherlands’ biggest battle this time around was to lift the team’s spirits after Van Terheijden lost the second singles rubber, the first point the Dutch players had dropped all week. Van Fraaijenhoven and Spong had to help Van Terheijden regroup and prepare him for the rigours of doubles against a tough Russian pairing. “It’s important as a coach to know the motivational things that work in that situation. The boys are different personalities but Xander and I talked to him a lot over lunch and they combined really well in the doubles,” said Van Fraaijenhoven. “Everything kind of clicked there. They get on well and they’ve been playing well and getting on well together over the summer and that paid off. They both have lots of flair and we’ve had a great time here, with the perfect balance between working hard and having fun. They did a great job.”
Spong admitted that the lunchtime break – players usually have just half an hour to regroup for doubles after playing singles – had been the key. “It was really hard because Tim was really down and I was a bit down too,” said Spong. “I tried to push us both on and as soon as we got on court we started playing unbelievable. I felt after a few games that we were the stronger team. I think we had more options. It means a lot to think that we are champions, especially as our families came from Holland to watch us.”
It was a mentally and physically gruelling day for the Belarussian girls, too, not least for Milevskaya, who had to battle with a painful arm injury in the doubles. “My arm feels like it’s breaking right now,” said Milevskaya, battling back tears. “It’s been such an emotional day, especially to get such a win over Russia. I’m tired but I’m so happy too. We won the European Cup but this is bigger and better than that. To beat Russia in the Junior Fed Cup final is amazing.”