Netherlands Fed Cup captain Paul Haarhuis has piled the pressure on the Australian team ahead of this weekend’s crucial World Group playoff.
Australia will enter the tie as big favourites, with a powerhouse lineup of Sam Stosur, Ash Barty, Daria Gavrilova and Destanee Aiava. Both Barty and Gavrilova are ranked in the top 25, while Stosur is a former world number four with a Grand Slam victory to her name.
The Netherlands, on the other hand, have sent a team of Lesley Kerkhove, Quirine Lemoine, Indy De Vroome and Demi Schuurs, with Kerkhove the highest ranked singles player of the quartet, at 210. Schuurs is a doubles specialist, with a doubles world ranking of 30.
Given the rankings discrepancy, Haarhuis knows everything will have to go his team’s way if they are to emerge from the tie victorious.
He is confident, however, that if the Australians are off their game, his players will pounce.
“With a big difference in the rankings with the Australian girls and the Dutch girls, we are not small underdogs, but by a big margin,” Haarhuis said.
“The only good thing about being underdogs is that the pressure is on the Australian girls. They have to win, it would be terrible if they lose to us. Probably the biggest upset ever.”
“Our girls know that they can beat any girl on a given day, it’s just they don’t do that every day. Things have to really go our way. The girls have to play well, the Australian girls can’t play their best tennis, because if they play their best tennis, we’re not going to win.”