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ZIMBABWE are gearing up their preparations for the Davis Cup EuropeAfrica Group II tennis tie against Bosnia and Herzegovina pencilled for this weekend with the team going through its practise sessions at the match venue — Harare Sports Club — for the past few days.

The tie is set to run from Friday to Sunday.

Team captain Martin Dzuwa and local tennis legend Wayne Black have been working together since last month and were joined by Takanyi Garanganga, Mark Fynn and Tinotenda Chanakira last week as they make the final touches ahead of the tie while United States-based Benjamin Lock, ranked as the second best player in the team, was expected in the country last night.

Garanganga, ranked 327 in the world, is Zimbabwe’s top player and yesterday said it’s been an exciting journey as he prepares for this crucial tie that will determine their progress to the next Group.

“It’s been exciting and I have been looking forward to this since the day we qualified in Egypt last year, so every time I have been working out, I always had the Davis Cup in my mind. So it’s been exciting, I have been preparing well for other tournaments also taking in mind that there is Davis Cup this year, next year and for years to come.

“And ultimately more excitement comes when you think about getting back into the World Group, it’s a bigger picture and having big goals is always exciting for any individual and obviously for the country. I think people are excited too and I know people are looking forward to this tie.

“It’s been normal like I said from when we qualified I have always been preparing bearing in mind that there will be Davis Cup. So I have just been doing exactly what I have been doing overseas and here it’s been a little bit difficult with the rains and getting used to the court and the speed of the balls. But now three days into it, everything is just falling into place and I have a couple more days before the first match, so everything is going according to plan,” said Garanganga.

Looking at the two teams’ rankings, it appears Bosnia and Herzegovina have an upper hand going into this tie but Garanganga said they just need to concentrate on their game.

“One of them, Mirza Basic, is good friend of mine. I see him a lot on the tour. He is a good player. He has got lot of potential just like I have. We are both growing our careers to get to the highest level of tennis so I think it will be good competition with them.

“So (for) the preparations, I think we just have to focus on what we want to do as each match comes. You focus on your strengths and you manage your weaknesses during the game. It’s mental (toughness) at the end of the day but just managing what you have at that moment and taking aantage of the opponent’s weaknesses,” said Garanganga.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina team arrived in the country over the weekend and conducted their first practise session yesterday at the match venue.

Director of the Tennis Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Senad Hadzimesic, said they are ready for the event.

“It was a long trip to Zimbabwe and we had 30 hours of travel. Today is our first training for the team and the surface is good for us. I think the guys are in good form and our first player Damir Dzumhur is in the top 100 and he won the last Challenge he played in, a very g challenge and he played in the final last month.

“And also our second player Mirza Basic, he is number 200 on the ATP rankings. He also played in the final of a very g Challenge in Palakia and I think he is in good form. We came with our best team, it is good for us and I think maybe we have a small chance to win because we see Zimbabwe is also a good team but we will try to win,” said Hadzimesic.

Hadzimesic, who is also the team’s non-playing captain, said although they are coming in as the favourites in this tie, they will be cautious in their approach as he noted that Davis Cup is a tough competition. “I think we are not outright favourite for this match and the Davis Cup is a difficult competition and it is very important to have a good atmosphere,” said Hadzimesic.

If Zimbabwe win this tie, they will play another match later this year for possible promotion into EuropeAfrica Group I.

A loss will see Zimbabwe remain in the EuropeAfrica Group II.

Source : The Herald

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