Tennis captain Haarhuis leaves with a narrow victory: ‘It was a cliffhanger’

Paul Haarhuis is relieved and happy that on Saturday he got the farewell he hoped for as captain of the Dutch tennis players. His team settled after an exciting battle with China in the play-offs of the Billie Jean King Cup.

“I enjoyed doing it for eight years and now I have been able to say goodbye in a beautiful way,” said 55-year-old Haarhuis in Den Bosch. The former number one in doubles already announced at the end of 2020 that he would stop because he has too many other activities at the tennis association.

“It would make sense to appoint someone who is more often on the women’s tour and who has more bond. They had that bond with me, but I only worked with them a few weeks a year for the last few years. . ”

For a long time it was uncertain whether Haarhuis would end his period with the Dutch women’s team with a victory. After the four singles it was still the same (2-2) and therefore the doubles had to provide a decisive answer. Demi Schuurs and Arantxa Rus beat Zhang Shuai and Xu Yifan in two sets.

“It was another cliffhanger, because it was really exciting all weekend. Also the last double match. It is very cool for Demi Schuurs that she has now been decisive for the team,” said Haarhuis.

Russian: ‘Paul asked if I was also ready for the doubles’

Normally, doubles specialist Schuurs would form a duo together with Lesley Pattinama-Kerkhove, but at the last moment, Rus was chosen. The number 83 in the world had just before won her single against Wang Xinyu.

“Paul asked if I was also ready for the doubles,” said the thirty-year-old Russian. “I felt good physically and also had self-confidence to play doubles. That has often gone well lately. It is nice when you have a top doubles player like Schuurs standing next to you.”

Kiki Bertens came into action for the Netherlands on Friday, but after her victory over Xinyu Wang she suffered from her injured Achilles tendon again and had to miss the second day of competition in Den Bosch. Her replacement Pattinama-Kerkhove went down in three sets against Wang Xiyu.

Due to the victory over China, the Netherlands may participate in the qualifiers for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals next year. In February 2020, the formation of captain Paul Haarhuis went down against Belarus, forcing the Netherlands to play a play-off this year. With a defeat this week, the team was relegated to the regional zone.
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