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Davis Cup Cairo
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 07 - 07 - 2011

Egypt hosted the Europe/Africa Zone Group III, reports Ghada Abdel-Kader
Under the supervision of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Egyptian Tennis Federation (ETF) hosted the Davis Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group III 2011, the world's largest annual international team competition for men.
The championship is taking place at the Smash Tennis Academy in Cairo from 4-9 July.
Last year, Egypt hosted Denmark in the Europe/ Africa Zone Group Level II playoffs. In the Group Level II first round, Egypt was defeated by Cyprus 3-2 in Limassol. Then Egypt was beaten by Denmark 5-0 in Cairo. In their previous meeting, Denmark had come out victorious with a 3-1 win. The victory kept Denmark in Group Level II, while Egypt fell to Group Level III.
Countries participating in the Europe/Africa Zone Group III are Egypt, Madagascar, Nigeria, Benin, Rwanda, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Kenya. Cameroon, Gabon, Congo and Zambia withdrew.
The 10 teams are divided into two round-robin pools. Egypt, Madagascar, Nigeria, Benin and Rwanda are in Group A while Group B includes Algeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Kenya. Matches in those pools will be played Monday 4 July until Friday 8 July. Each day, one team takes off. On Monday, when the Weekly 's sports page went to press, Egypt was to play Rwanda. On Tuesday, Egypt was scheduled to play Benin. On Wednesday, Egypt was to meet Nigeria. Thursday is off and on Friday, Egypt will play Madagascar.
On Saturday 9 July, the winners of pool A will play off against the runner up of pool B. The winner of pool B will play off against the runner up of pool A to determine which two nations will be promoted to the 2012 Europe/Africa Zone Group II. The remaining nations will stay in the Europe/Africa Zone Group III but will play off to decide positions 5-11.
The Egyptian team consists of its top seed Mohamed Safwat, second seed Sherif Sabri, third seed Karim Mohamed Maamoun and fourth Omar Hedayet. Safwat is ranked 491, Sabri 663, Maamoun 936 and Hedayet 967 in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour world rankings.
"The choice of the four players depends mainly on the players' international ranking," Egyptian Davis Cup team coach Tamer El-Sawy said. "We have been working with the players for eight weeks. They participated in international championships in Italy and Morocco. Last week, we held training camp immediately before the start of the Davis Cup. The players are committed to their training. They are at the peak of their mental and physical strength."
Egypt first played in the Davis Cup in 1929. Its best performance was reaching the Europe/ Africa Zone Group I semi-finals, which it achieved in 1982 and 1985. Denmark's first Davis Cup appearance was back in 1921. It was a quarter-finalist in 1988 and also reached the Europe Zone final in 1927, 1950 and 1953.
The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport. One of the cornerstones of the tennis year, this prestigious event gives players the chance to represent their country in an otherwise individual sport.
Founded by Dwight Davis in 1900, the Davis Cup began as a challenge match between the United States and the British Isles, which was held at the Longwood Cricket Club in the US city of Boston. Davis himself played in the inaugural Davis Cup tie, steering his country to the first of many title victories.
The US has won the Davis Cup 32 times, more than any other nation.
BNP Paribas replaced NEC as title sponsor of the event in 2002 after joining the Davis Cup family as an international sponsor in 2001.
Entering the 2010 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas were 133 countries, with the leading 16 nations contesting the World Group.


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