The Davis Cup was canceled last year. Has he been missed by the players?
Kohlmann: Every fall. I can tell that everyone is happy that we got back together. Even with those who are not there. They report by cell phone. The Davis Cup hat has always been on. It’s still something special in tennis.
You yourself criticize the mode. What exactly is bothering you?
Kohlmann: You have to give the competition a chance. But I don’t believe that you can do it like in football, that people travel around the world every year. And: If you watch our Davis Cup games in Australia in 2018 or in the bullring in Seville, then there can be no such highly emotional thing in this mode. In addition, you can hardly present yourself to a home audience. Only in qualification, which is not exactly the goal of a team.
Are there any other points of criticism from your side?
Kohlmann: You have to talk about the schedule so that you can win even more players to participate. The fact that you play into December and then it starts again in Australia in January is something that hardly happens in any other sport. Six weeks off would not be bad. The women managed it too, and it should be the same with the men.
For the Austrian top coach Günter Bresnik, the Davis Cup has become a normal tournament and has lost its fascination. Do you think the new mode will establish itself?
Kohlmann: If I had the perfect idea, I would announce it. In my opinion, the appointment is one of the main reasons for the problem. But there are many ideas that are discussed. One should now wait and see what happens.
With Austria and Serbia, the German team has tough tasks ahead of them. And the best German player, Alexander Zverev, is not there – because he criticizes the new mode of group games. Can you understand this attitude?
Kohlmann: Sascha has been criticizing this mode for years. Nothing changed about that. In addition, one must not forget that he played very successfully until last week and became world champion. Unter must take a break in order to be able to achieve his goals for the next year. It’s a shame for us and doesn’t make the task any easier. But we have a powerful group together and try to create a surprise even without him.
Serbia competes with world number one Novak Djokovic. And Dusan Lajovic, number 33. Jan Lennard Struff and Dominik Köpfer are number 51 and 54 in the world. Doesn’t look very promising at first.
Kohlmann: If you just look at the world ranking positions, it would be difficult. But these numbers indicate a player’s consistency over a year. But on a special day, our players are also able to beat the second Serbian player. Whether it will be enough against Djokovic is difficult to say and rather a mammoth task. But we are not copying this point from the beginning either.
Austria as the second opponent also plays without the long-term injured top player Dominic Thiem. Dennis Novak (118th) and Juirj Rodionov (143) are still well behind the German players. Anything but a win would be a bitter disappointment?
Kohlmann: The duel against Austria is always something special and means a lot of pressure for all players. In my opinion, this does not only apply to tennis, but to every sport. It’s going to be a hot game. We have to deliver 100 percent, otherwise there could be a bad ending for us.
What is your goal with the team for this year?
Kohlmann: If we went into the competition and said we want to win the Davis Cup, then I don’t know if they’d do that for us. We want to go to Madrid for the final tournament. To do this, we have to survive the group stage, win the group or qualify as one of the best. That alone is a high hurdle.
The interview was conducted by Jörg Strohschein
Status: 11/26/2021, 7:00 am