Two years ago, Hubert Hurkacz won all three of his singles matches at the ATP Cup, but Team Poland came unstuck in the deciding doubles match in each tie. This time around, captain Marcin Matkowski believes the squad has a better chance of recording a first win.
“The guys came on 26 December, so they have already had a few good days of practice,” said Matkowski, who retired in 2019. “We played two years ago, and we have great experience and great memories from that. We played three very close matches.
“This year, we came [to Sydney] with the thought of having better results. [It] won’t be easy, but we are confident if we are playing our best we can win [this time].”
Hurkacz, who was No. 37 in the FedEx ATP Rankings at the 2020 ATP Cup, enjoyed a career-best 2021 that included three ATP Tour crowns, including the Miami Open presented by Itau (d. Sinner). With the support of Kamil Majchrzak, Kacper Zuk, Jan Zielinski and Szymon Walkow, the World No. 9 is positive about Poland’s chances.
“It’s great to be here with the whole team,” said Hurkacz. “I mean, it’s so much fun. All of us bring, I think, great energy, and we will definitely enjoy it here and, hopefully, we’ll get many wins.”
Matkowski, who captured 17 tour-level doubles titles, added, “I think we bring a much more experienced team. Hubert said he’s playing better doubles, which obviously he is, his results show that. Besides him we have Jan and Szymon, who can help us a lot in doubles. I feel very strongly about our doubles position.
“If it’s not 2-0, [but] 1-1, I think we have a very good chance of winning a tie whoever goes on court. We are confident we can learn from our experience two years ago and obviously… it’s not a problem for Hubert to play if he’s needed in two matches.
“Obviously, from experience, I know in Australia that the fans like doubles. They always support doubles players… [and] with the ATP Cup format, doubles usually is the match that decides the tie.”
With a big Polish community in Sydney, Majchrzak and Zuk are also excited about the opportunity to represent Poland in Group D. Poland plays Greece on Saturday, Georgia on Monday and Argentina on Wednesday.
“I’m looking forward to helping my team this year,” said Majchrzak. “I’m very happy that I’m fit again and I can try to help my team and play for Poland.”
Zuk admitted that the experience of playing in 2020, helped him to rise up from No. 460 to a career-high of No. 162 over the past two years. “It gave me lots of experience and confidence,” said Zuk. “I started to play much better [and] I improved a lot. I’m happy to be here again and I will try to help to our team.”