20 Sep 2017

Koves enjoying the atmosphere at Budapest Finals

News Article

By Tom Moran

Photo: Srdjan StevanovicCaptain Gabor Koves (HUN)

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: Hungarian Davis Cup captain Gabor Koves is clearly still on a high after his team’s upset victory against Russia at the weekend, a result which will see Hungary play in the World Group in 2018 for the first time in over 20 years.

Just three days after the win, he has arrived down at Budapest’s National Tennis Centre to take in the action at the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals.

“It’s nice to be back here in a place where there are young talented players,” Koves said during a lengthy rain delay on Wednesday. “The only thing is that the weather is not the nicest this year…”

He’s not wrong. The opening two days of the tournament have been a challenge for players and organisers alike, with persistent bad weather afflicting the Hungarian capital and wreaking havoc with the schedule. Play began on time on Wednesday morning as the teams looked to complete their first ties of the week, but was suspended after only 20 minutes and did not restart until mid-afternoon.

Such situations force the players to switch their focus away from the tennis and on to more mundane past-times – and despite the cold and the rain outside, the atmosphere in the players’ lounge remained positive.

“People, coaches are talking to each other with the same language,” Koves observed, “You see the Colombian girls are talking to the Argentinian girls, many people are talking to each other and it’s a great atmosphere. It’s great to see that.”

And while this event offers a small glimpse into the future of tennis, for Koves it also provides a chance to reminisce about years past.

“I met a lot of people from my playing years, the captains,” Koves said. “A good friend of mine is the Japanese Davis Cup captain. I just met Stefano Pescosolido, the Italian [Junior Davis Cup] captain – I used to play Davis Cup against him.”

Koves enjoyed relative success on the tour as a Top 100 doubles player. But it is clear that his experiences in team competitions have provided some of the fondest memories of his playing career.

“Davis Cup is in my heart, it’s a special thing,” he explained. “Last time we qualified in the World Group was when I played. We beat the Aussies in 1995 here in Budapest.”

Being a part of the national team is something that Koves regards as an important part of a player’s career – and to that end, he invited Hungary’s Junior Davis Cup team to spend some time at the tie against Russia at the weekend.

“For the boys it was a great experience, because we invited them for the tie and they were there for the decisive match, next to our team, behind me,” Koves continued. “And I was looking out for them – you know, ‘did you see that?’, ‘pay attention!’ – so I was trying to be nice to them and I think they really appreciated it.”

Unfortunately for the hosts, the boys team fell to Australia in a decisive doubles rubber in their first tie here – which began at 10.30am on Tuesday but was not completed until after 4pm on Wednesday after the rain delays.

“They have to compete, that’s the key. They have to get the experience,” Koves said of the boys’ team. “It’s a team effort, hopefully the captain can give them good advice. All these teams are good so they have to compete and try to get as many sets, as many wins as possible. Anything can happen, they just have to keep going and try their best.”