Ireland’s Davis Cup World Group II win against El Salvador last weekend has been rewarded with a home tie against Austria in the World Group I Play-offs next February.
The draw, attended by Irish player and Vice-captain Dave O’Hare, was made in London today and it pits Ireland against a team ranked 27 in the world.
The Austrian team in February could feature 2020 US Open Champion and former world no. 3 Dominic Thiem. Such a tie would be sure to draw great crowds in the first home fixture since 2015.
Commenting on the draw Irish captain Conor Niland said: We are delighted to get the opportunity to bring Davis Cup tennis back to Ireland early next year. For it to be a Group I play-off is extra special although playing against a quality Austria team, potentially with US Open Champion Dominic Thiem involved would be a big challenge. The team and I are still excited after our victory against El Salvador but we will now turn our attention to preparing for the Austrian tie.
After attending the draw, David O’Hare added: It is really exciting to think of giving the tennis community in Ireland such a great opportunity to support our team. Last weekend we were thrilled to prevail against an enthusiastic crowd and we just can’t wait to get the chance to perform in front our own supporters.
O’Hare admits to still being on something of a high following a rather special fortnight in his own Tennis career. Just 10 days ago, the doubles pairing he coaches, Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram won their third US Open Doubles title in a row, an incredible achievement, while last weekend, he took to the court himself, along with Memphis college student Conor Gannon to win the pivotal match in Ireland’s 4-1 defeat of El Salvador in Sonsonate.
Reflecting on the match, which was played on clay courts in heat of 33 degrees O’Hare said:
‘It wasn’t just fantastic to win. It was also really great to see how the young guys on our team performed. We were really up against it – first of all because Simon Carr was out through injury – and on top of that, El Salvador had a real star in Marcelo Arevalo. He won the doubles at the French Open last year, so even though he doesn’t play much singles, we knew they would be looking for him to deliver the tie with three wins. He started well too, beating our No 1, Osgar O’hOisin in a tight first match on the opening day.
That left us knowing the whole tie could hinge on the doubles.
Conor (Niland, the Ireland captain) and I debated long and hard about who we should play. And we eventually went with Conor (Gannon). Conor had never played a live Davis Cup rubber before, but he had been really impressive during the practice, so after he won his opening singles on the first day, we bet the house on him delivering for us in the doubles. We knew that would also leave Osgar then fresh to try to get us over the line in the second round of singles, if we were up 2-1.
And that’s how it worked out. Conor played fantastically, even though he was facing a Grand Slam champion, and given that he is someone I have been mentoring and advising since he was in transition year, I just could not have been more proud.’
The Ireland team which beat El Salvador 4-1 to advance to the World Group I Playoffs in February 2024, was
Captain: Conor Niland
Saturday 16th September
Conor Gannon bt Cesar Cruz 6-1, 6-0.
Osgar O’hOisin lost to Marcelo Arevalo 6-7, 1-6.
Sunday 17th September
David O’Hare and Conor Gannon bt Marcelo Arevalo and Lluis Miralles. 6-2, 6-3.
Osgar O’Oisin bt Diego Duran 6,3, 6-3.
Ireland 3-1 El Salvador
Freddy Murray then bt Jose Flores 6-0, 6-0 in a very promising debut to seal the tie 4-1 to Ireland.