Monaco’s Davis Cup team are set for a stern test against an experienced Ecuador side at the Monte-Carlo Country Club this weekend.
After consolidating their place in Group 2 following a victory over the Dominican Republic earlier this year, Monaco are once again looking forward.
It has been a positive season for the Principality’s tennis players: Valentin Vacherot and Romain Arneodo have never been ranked higher, the latter reaching the final of the Monte-Carlo Masters in April, whilst Hugo Nys, an Australian Open finalist at the beginning of the year, recently reached the quarter-finals of the US Open too.
“Will we be slightly feared? Maybe a bit,” said Nys at the draw on Thursday 14th September.
However, Monaco aren’t getting ahead of themselves, and they shouldn’t. Ecuador are an experienced side with a culture of competing in the Davis Cup.
“It is a very big tradition is Ecuador, a very big competition for us. Our federation, all our players, we are like a big family,” said Captain Raúl Viver.
A “50/50” encounter, according to Couillard
Despite not winning in the Davis Cup since 2020, Ecuador arrive high on confidence and with a lengthy preparation period under their belts. The success of Monaco’s players this season means that they will be feeling positive, but perhaps with a little less preparation in the bank.
“It has been a season of two halves. Since April I have played a lot, not a lot of preparation. I have played a lot this summer, so I am arriving with a lot of confidence,” said Vacherot.
There is no wonder, therefore, why Guillaume Couillard has billed the tie as a “50/50” encounter.
“When we step on the court, it’s 50/50. Ecuador are a team with great players, with great experience, perhaps more than us,” said Monaco’s captain.
Monte-Carlo Masters finalist returns to Monegasque clay
In such a tight encounter, familiarity with the surroundings, as well as home-court advantage, could play a part. Arneodo in particular has felt the benefit of playing on Monaco clay, having reached the final of the Monte-Carlo Masters earlier this season.
“On clay, here in Monaco, especially, something always happens. I have always performed well here,” he told Monaco Life.
However, it isn’t just the surface that plays into Monaco’s hands, home support can play a part, and prior to the match, which begins on Friday, Couillard made a call to arms.
“When we play at home, in front of our people, for our country, we’re galvanised. The public will be important and I hope they’ll come in numbers,” he said.
Monaco v Ecuador Davis Cup draw in full:
Valentin Vacherot v Álvaro Guillen
Lucas Catarina v Emilio Gómez
Romain Arneodo & Hugo Nys v Gonzalo Escobar & Diego Hidalgo
Valentin Vacherot v Emilio Gomez
Lucas Catarina v Álvaro Guillen
Make sure you’re never left out of the conversation.
Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life