TENNIS Zimbabwe have rallied the Davis Cup team to rise above the challenge when they take on Romania in the Europe/Africa Group II tie on Friday and Saturday in Piatra Neamt.
The team is made up of Takanyi Garanganga, the Lock brothers — Benjamin and Courtney — and Mehluli Sibanda.
Garanganga and Benjamin are the top players ranked 449 and 546 in the singes.
The team is already in Romania and will be led by captain Gwinyai Tongoona.
The hosts are coming into this tie as favourites, ranked 42nd, while Zimbabwe are number 61.
Romania’s top player in the team is Marius Copil ranked 80th.
The other members are Dragos Dima, ranked 327th, Filip Cristian Jianu, Horia Tecau, who is ranked 33rd in the doubles, and Florin Mergea.
They will be guided by captain Gabriel Trifu.
Tongoona maintained the same team that has represented the country over the last few years and the return of Courtney, who missed last year’s ties against Turkey and Poland due to College commitments, has also been a boost for the team.
TZ manager, Cliff Nhokwara, said they were keeping their fingers crossed ahead of the tie and hoping for a positive result.
“On paper, obviously, Romania are favourites but they have to beat us. As much as they are favourites, it’s still a tie to be played, they still have to beat us.
“This is a team event and it’s full of surprises. Our guys are hopeful and they are there to surprise Romania despite them playing at home in a friendly environment.
“It’s the same team, same players we have had in the last few years so they already know each other.
“Looking even at the doubles you are looking at Benji and Courtney, they play together doubles on the tour. So already it’s a continuation from where they left in the last match,” said Nhokwara.
The draw for the tie is on tomorrow.