ZAGREB, 9 November 2019 – Just two days after Marin Cilic was ruled out of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals, it was announced today that Croatia will also be without their coach Zeljko Krajan.
Krajan, who led Croatia to their 2018 Davis Cup victory, has mutually parted ways with the Croatian Tennis Association (HTS). HTS President Nikolina Babić issued the following statement on Saturday afternoon.
“After a meeting between HTS senior leadership and the players, which included, besides myself, Vice-Presidents Neven Nakic and Franc Regina, Executive Director Vlatko Jovanoski and Sports Director Jelena Kostanic Tosic, it was concluded that Croatia will go into the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid without the leadership of Krajan, and we have agreed with him to terminate our cooperation.
I want to thank Krajan for all that we have accomplished and achieved together. However, as of today, we are going with a new format.
After the withdrawal of Marin Cilic due to injury and the inability of Ivo Karlovic to accept the call-up, the decision was to go to the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid with young players with whom we want and can build the future of the Croatian tennis team. The players come first, they wholeheartedly play for our national team and the country and I am sure they will do their best to achieve the best possible result.
I believe our fans and the public will respect this decision by the players and HTS and provide support and peace to the players ahead of this important Davis Cup competition in Madrid,“ the statement read.
HTS have announced that they will hold a press conference on Monday 11 November.
A knee injury ruled out Cilic for the finals which take place from 18-24 November.
“The last year and a half has been a real struggle mentally and physically for me. Even with all the preventative work and rehab my team and I did, my recurring knee injury has continued to give me problems, and as the season progressed it was becoming more evident that surgery was inevitable. I recently did an ultrasound and luckily the results were better than expected. The rehab work was successful enough that surgery is not necessary at this stage, however, I will need to undergo a few minor interventions which will keep me off the tennis court for a longer period and unfortunately means I will not be able to compete at the Davis Cup this month. I am extremely disappointed by this, but I believe in my teammates and will be their most devoted fan. In the meantime, I will dedicate myself to getting back to form so that I can enter the 2020 season healthier, more prepared, and more motivated than ever. Thank you all for your constant support and I look forward to seeing you back on tour in 2020,” said Cilic.
Croatia team: Borna Coric, Ivan Dodig, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic. (5th member TBC)
The Davis Cup Finals start on 18 November at the Caja Magica and Croatia have been draw alongside Russia and Spain in Group B. The group winners and two best runners-up will advance to the quarter-finals. The semi-finals will both be held on Saturday, November 23, with the final the following day. All matches will be the best of three sets, replacing the five set matches in the old format.
The four semi-finalists will also book a place in the 2020 finals, with the two worst teams in the group stage dropping into the Zone Group competition with the other 12 sides to play in the qualifiers.
2019 Davis Cup finals
GROUP A: France, Serbia, Japan
GROUP B: Croatia, Spain, Russia
GROUP C: Argentina, Germany, Chile
GROUP D: Belgium, Australia, Colombia
GROUP E: Britain, Kazakhstan, Netherlands
GROUP F: United States, Italy, Canada