Davis Cup places up for grabs

2009 Davis Cup Venue-TurkeyGroup 3 (Euro-Africa): Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Botswana, Turkey and Rwanda
L-R: RWANDA’S TOP SEED: Jean Claude Gasigwa, SEEKING TEAM BERTH: Dieudonne Habiyambere.
L-R: RWANDA’S TOP SEED: Jean Claude Gasigwa, SEEKING TEAM BERTH: Dieudonne Habiyambere.

2009 Davis Cup

Venue-Turkey
Group 3 (Euro-Africa): Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Botswana, Turkey and Rwanda

AHEAD of next month’s Davis Cup, Rwanda’s top tennis players are entangled in a battle for the four available slots on the national team.

Rwanda’s top seed Jean Claude Gasigwa, Olivier Nkunda, Dieudonne Habiyambere, Mele Bizimana, Mathew Uwizeyimana and Cekina Niyonshuti are all in contention but Thierry Ntwali, an RTF (Rwanda Tennis Federation) official has hinted that the criteria for selection will entirely depend on the players’ form.

“In selecting the team, we shall look at their form so it’s up to them to work hard and impress the selectors,” he said.

This year, Rwanda is seeded in Group three (Euro-Africa) alongside Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Botswana and hosts Turkey.

The teams will be divided into pools were the top two teams in each pool will advance to a ‘promotion’ pool of four teams from which the top two sides will progress to  Europe/Africa Group 2. On the other hand, the bottom two teams in each pool drop to the ‘relegation’ pool were the last two sides drop to Group IV.

In 2007, Rwanda were relegated to Group 4 but battled their way back to Group 3 last year after finishing 4th in Armenia.
Rwanda has never broken into Group 2 but Ntwali and the team are desperate to go an extra mile in Turkey.

Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men’s tennis. It is contested between teams of players from competing countries in a knock-out format.

The world’s 16 best national teams are assigned to the world group while nations outside the world group (like Rwanda) compete in one of three regional zones (Americas, Asia/Oceania, and Europe/Africa).

Davis Cup is also the largest annual international team competition in tennis, and is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). It is contested between teams of players from competing countries in a knock-out format.

The competition began in 1900 as a challenge between the United States and Great Britain. In 2005, 134 nations entered teams into the competition.

The most successful countries over the history of the tournament are the United States (winning 32 tournaments and finishing as runners-up 29 times) and Australia (winning 28 times and finishing second 19 times and also winning on four occasions with New Zealand under the name ‘Australasia’).

The women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup is the Fed Cup.

The ITF Davis Cup Nations Ranking measures the success of all Nations participating in the Competition over a ‘rolling’ four year period. After each round the ranking period adjusts and any results outside the adjusted four year period drop off.

Recent performance is weighted more heavily: points from the second, third and fourth year of the Ranking Period will be reduced by 25%, 50% and 75% respectively.

Therefore, 100 points would become 75, then 50, then 25 over the four years. Only winning teams can receive points to advance, and there are bonus points for any Nation that defeats a higher-ranked Nation.

Unique to tennis, there are additional bonus points for any Nation that is able to win on an opponent’s home ground. If an away nation wins a tie, it receives 25% of the round points and any rankings bonus points it receives for that tie in addition to those points.

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