The Sunday Mail
ZIMBABWE got polished in Poland last weekend but Davis Cup captain Gwinyai Tongoona insists the 1-4 score is not a true reflection of how hard his boys battled.
The Europeans, who had Lukasz Kubot the world’s number one doubles player in their camp, easily clinched the Europe/Africa Group II second round tie after a first day of action which ended with the teams tied on one game each.
Takanyi Garanganga lost 6-2, 6-2 to Kamil Majchrzak in the first rubber before Benjamin Lock restored parity when he won 7-5, 7-5 against Poland number two player Mikal Pryzsiezny. The hosts then won both Day Two’s matches to seal victory. As the team awaits the Davis Cup playoff draw Tongoona is choosing to look at the positives. “The guys did well they tried their best against a stronger team,” he said.
“Poland was obviously stronger than Turkey (who Zimbabwe beat to set up the Poland tie). We would have been in a great position had we gone 2-0 after the first day but Takanyi lost that game. However, scores (6-2, 6-2) do not truly reflect his performance. I think he matched that guy.”
The Davis Cup skipper pointed out that with local players nowhere near the world’s top 200 Zimbabwe will always find it difficult to compete at this level.
Zimbabwe’s number one Benjamin Lock is ranked 482 while Garanganga is nine places behind. “Ideally they would want to be ranked around 220 or higher because most players in group one have such rankings.
“But obviously they need our support, the coaches, the association and the corporate world so that they continue rising through the rankings,” said Tongoona.
With the Poles having taken an unassailable 3-1 lead Tongoona decided to give 19-year old Mark Chigaazira a run in the last match. Chigaazira may have lost 6-3, 6-4 to 18-year-old Daniel Michalski but his strong showing won him kudos and gave him some confidence.
“It was my first time to play indoors and also in a packed stadium, it was a whole new atmosphere out there, but I enjoyed it.
“Everyone, including the Polish players, noted that I had the talent but needed to play more competitive matches. However, lack of funding means I cannot play on tours so maybe pursuing a place at college in the United States maybe the best option for me,” he said.