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Tennis rebel Köllerer may have Davis Cup comeback

By Thomas Hochwarter

Daniel Köllerer – often regarded as the "problem child" of Austrian tennis – might have a comeback with the Davis Cup team after his strong performance at the US Open.

Köllerer exited the Grand Slam tournament as the last Austrian competitor yesterday (Sun) in the third round against Juan Martin del Potro, the ATP number six in the world. The 26-year-old Upper Austrian delivered a strong performance against the Argentine world class player but in the end lost 6-1, 3-6,  6-3, 6-3.

Austrian Davis Cup coach Gilbert Schaller said Köllerer could receive a call-up next year. The announcement comes just weeks after Schaller controversially decided to leave Köllerer out of the upcoming clash with Chile over ongoing disciplinary issues.

Köllerer has been warned and fined several times over the past few years by the ATP for abusing opponents, referees and audience as well as for smashing his rackets. Players even initiated an open letter appealing to officials to ban the player nicknamed "Crazy Dani".

But Schaller said today (Mon): "I decided to do without him against Chile – after explaining to him claims there was a conspiracy against him were untrue. If I am still coaching the Davis Cup team next year, I will review the situation and make new decisions."

Köllerer said he did not want to say anything about the Davis Cup nomination issue anymore so he could fully focus on his career on the ATP tour. Speaking about his battle against del Potro, he said: "The match was an amazing experience. I was nervous at first, but the audience was overwhelming.

"I hoped to be able to challenge him, but I did not really expect it would be such an open match. Despite having lost, I’m happy with my performance," he added.

Del Potro – who will compete at the BA Trophy in Vienna from 24 October – admitted it was hard to play Köllerer. "You never know what his reaction will be. I felt the pressure, but I did the job in the end," the 21-year-old star said.

Schaller admitted he was a fan of Köllerer. "I enjoy watching him on court. I like it when players show some emotion.

"But you should not cross the borders in whatever you are doing," he added, referring to Köllerer’s on-court rages.

Austria’s number one Jürgen Melzer, who will lead the David Cup team against Chile, also did well at the US Open as he beat Russian star Marat Safin in the first round. But Melzer, 28, lost to del Potro in the second, meaning he was robbed of the chance to face Köllerer in the third round.

Austria’s female players – Sybille Bammer, Patricia Mayr and Yvonne Meusburger – all failed in the first round.

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