Back in February, Brazil hosted Belgium in the Davis Cup Qualifiers round, looking to pass the rival that played without David Goffin and reach the first-ever Davis Cup Finals in November. Instead of that, the brave Belgian squad stole the victory after taking three rubbers in a row, including an unexpected doubles triumph from Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen against Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo.
Seven months later, the Brazilian squad is eager to fix the errors and get another chance to fight for the place in Madrid 2020, facing Barbados in Group I Americas in Criciuma between September 13-14 on outdoor clay. Thiago Monteiro, Joao Menezes, Thiago Seyboth Wild will lead the home squad in singles, with Melo and Soares forging the doubles team for the 17th time in the national jersey, eager to deliver much better performance than against the Belgians and propel their country through.
Brazil and Barbados never played before and the home team is a huge favorite to secure the spot in 2020 Davis Cup Qualifiers with other 23 nations, with Darian King as the only established player from Barbados. "I know a lot about Darian King, I've played against him a couple of times but I don't know much about the rest of Barbados team," said Soares.
"Our main goal is to be in Madrid at the end of 2020 and If we lose, we're not going to have a chance so the pressure is on us, playing at home as the favorites, hopefully, we can make it happen. Marcelo and I played a thousand matches together, we grew up together at junior events, representing our club back home, then our state, then Brazil in Davis Cup.
We played ITF Futures, ATP Challengers and then on the ATP Tour, so we know each other inside out. I like the new Davis Cup Finals format, it's intense and it's great to have everyone representing their countries in the same spot – I think the fans are going to love that.
It's just too bad that Brazil is going to miss the first year, but we really want to be there next year." "We had a chance against Belgium that played without Goffin but they beat us in Brazil," Melo said.
"Of course, we wanted to be in the Davis Cup Finals and now we have to do our best to earn the place there in 2020. Davis Cup is the sort of competition where sometimes they might not have as good ranking as us, but they can be dangerous.
We love to represent Brazil and when you're out there as a team we have such chemistry between the players, and the coaches as well. Bruno and I are happy to play Davis Cup together, especially as friends. For me, it means so much to represent Brazil as a team. Fortunately, we're going to play in Brazil and I hope the crowd will come in and support us."