France's Adrian Mannarino acknowledged it's easy to focus when there is no crowd in the stands but admitted that playing for your friends and nation is what brings the pressure. On Thursday, France kicked off their Davis Cup Finals campaign against the Czech Republic.
Group C ties are taking place in Innsbruck and there is no crowd in the stands since Austria entered a lockdown. Mannarino, ranked at No. 71 in the world, recovered from a set down to beat Jiri Vesely 6-7 (1) 6-4 6-2. "There is no noise, it's easy to concentrate.
The pressure comes from the fact that you play for your friends, There is also a lot of excitement. You have to manage all of that. The important thing is to come out on top," Mannarino said after his win, per We Love Tennis.
Mannarino saved France
France found themselves a loss away from losing the tie after Richard Gasquet lost to Tomas Machac in the opening rubber of the tie. Mannarino stepped up in the following rubber to beat Vesely and force a deciding rubber.
In the deciding rubber, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut beat Jiri Lehecka and Machac to complete a comeback win for France. “It is difficult to say what makes us successful,” Herbert explained. “It is a lot of things and sometimes it is things which you cannot really explain.
But when we are on court together, we feel we’re one team. “It has been so long that we have played together now. It is hard to play to a good level with someone, and it is even tougher to play with that person to a good level for a long time.
“This is what we have managed to do, and it is one of the things that I am most proud of, that we are still playing together after so many years, still having success and still having pleasure to play together. "We are quite different and bring something to the other guy that maybe helps him on court. We are also good communicators and we have remained true to ourselves. Also, we do it as friends."