Photo: Marleen Fouchier
This Friday and Saturday (March 4-5), Team Canada presented by Sobeys will face the Netherlands in a crucial Davis Cup by Rakuten Qualifiers tie, with the winner advancing to the year-end Finals for a chance to compete for title of World champions.
Taking place at Sportcampus Zuiderpark, The Hague on an indoor clay surface, the Canadian team comprising of Brayden Schnur, Peter Polansky, Steven Diez, and Alexis Galarneau will be led by captain Frank Dancevic. But, who will they be coming up against? Here, we put the spotlight on their opponents “across the net”, the Netherlands.
Botic van de Zandschulp
Ranked No. 48 – a career high – on the ATP Tour, Botic van de Zandschulp is the Netherlands’ most potent singles player involved this tie. He first represented his country in Davis Cup action in 2019, when he was selected for the 2-1 loss to Kazakhstan, in which he was defeated 6-2, 6-2 by Mikhail Kukushkin. More recently, in September 2021, Van de Zandschulp produced a stunning, straight-sets 6-0, 6-3 victory over Uruguay’s Francisco Llanes to help the Netherlands on their way to a 4-0 win in the tie. The 26-year-old from Wageningen holds a doubles ranking of No. 227.
Just six places behind Van de Zandschulp in the ATP Tour rankings at No. 54, also a career high, Tallon Griekspoor enjoyed a successful 2021 season having won a record eight Challenger titles throughout the year. Earlier this season, he advanced to a career-first ATP Tour quarter-final in Melbourne. His first Davis Cup tie was also in 2019, though his came against the Czech Republic in February, when he was beaten 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 by Jiri Vesely. His most recent appearance in the competition came last year against Uruguay as he claimed a 6-4, 7-6 victory over Martin Cuevas. His doubles ranking is No. 372.
A veteran of the Netherlands’ Davis Cup team at 34-years-old, Robin Haase has won two-career ATP titles, both in Kitzbuhel (2011 and 2012) on clay courts. Though currently ranked No. 255 on the ATP Tour in singles, his career high of No. 33 came in 2012. He currently holds a No. 49 ranking in doubles. In fact, he already has a doubles title to his name in 2022, having won the Rotterdam Open title alongside teammate Matwe Middelkoop. Haase played his first Davis Cup tie in 2006 and has since played in 26 more. He holds a 41-25 win-to-loss record, including an impressive 31-15 record in singles.
32-year-old Wesley Koolhof is the Netherlands’ highest-ranked doubles player at No. 18. He already has three doubles titles under his belt in 2022 having claimed the trophies in Doha, Adelaide and Melbourne. A Grand Slam doubles finalist at the US Open in 2020, Koolhof reached the year-end ATP Finals that year, winning the event alongside fellow doubles specialist Nikola Mektic. He has been nominated a total of four times in the Davis Cup an has played in two ties, the first in 2019 against Great Britain and the second in 2021 against Uruguay.
Another veteran and another doubles specialist on the Netherlands’ team, Matwe Middelkoop is ranked No. 28 in doubles on the ATP Tour. As previously mentioned, he and Haase won the title in Rotterdam earlier this season which brought his career doubles title haul to 12. At 38-years-old, Middelkoop has been nominated 10 times and played in six Davis Cup ties. His first was a 5-0 defeat to Argentina in 2009, while his most recent was against Uruguay in 2021. He holds an overall win-loss record of 5-2.
The Netherlands team is captained by Paul Haarhuis, a former World No. 1 in doubles.