Russia’s tennis players go into their crucial Davis Cup match with Brazil as “big underdogs,” Russia’s team leader Alex Bogomolov Jr. has told Brazilian news website Globo.
Defeat for Russia on clay in Brazil this weekend would see the two-time champion drop out of the Davis Cup’s elite level for the first time.
“We are here as big underdogs,” Bogomolov said Wednesday.
Brazil is led by world No. 41 Thomaz Bellucci, while Russia’s singles hopes are likely to rest on 90th-ranked Bogomolov, who has won just once on clay this year, and 96th-rated Igor Andreev.
The Brazilians also have four players in the doubles top 100, whereas Russia has only Bogomolov at No. 89 and another player not included in the team.
“The Brazilian team is very strong, starting with the doubles, and also in the singles with Bellucci,” Bogomolov said.
“The surface is their preferred clay. We are underdogs and we feel very good in that position.”
The other two members of Russia’s team are 163rd-ranked Teymuraz Gabashvili and world No. 465 Stanislav Vovk.
Russian No. 1 Mikhail Youzhny and No. 2 Nikolay Davydenko are both absent, while other players were allowed to withdraw from the team to focus on raising their singles rankings in tour events.
Brazil is set to field Bellucci, world No. 115 Rogerio Dutra Silva and doubles specialist Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares, both in the top 25 for doubles.