international tennis

Davis Cup: Nick Kyrgios helps Australia level with Belgium in World Group semi-final

In the other semi-final, France and Serbia also split the singles rubbers.

Nick Kyrgios clinched a five-set thriller to pull Australia level with Belgium in the Davis Cup semi-finals on Friday, just hours after admitting he wasn’t taking tennis seriously enough.

The combustible Kyrgios came back from two sets to one down to defeat 33-year-old Steve Darcis 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-2 in three hours 36 minutes on the clay courts of Brussels’ Palais 12 arena.

Kyrgios fired 34 aces and 41 winners to take his Davis Cup singles record to seven wins in eight, as Australia finished the day at 1-1 after world No 12 David Goffin had beaten 185-ranked John Millman 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.

Kyrgios, defeated in the first round of the US Open by compatriot Millman earlier this month, went into the match suffering a hip injury as well as a lack of motivation.

Writing on www.playersvoice.com, the 22-year-old said: “I am not the professional tennis needs me to be”.

“I’m not making the improvements I should because I don’t want it enough, I’m not taking it seriously enough.

“There is a constant tug-of-war between the competitor within me wanting to win, win, win and the human in me wanting to live a normal life with my family away from the public glare.”

However, he was overjoyed by his performance in Brussels as Australia, the 28-time champions, seek a place in the Davis Cup final for the first time since they last won the title in 2003.

“(Captain) Lleyton Hewitt and I have put so much dedication into this, the Davis Cup has been my No 1 priority this year. I think we must be favourites going into the doubles’ tomorrow,” Kyrgios told daviscup.com.

Jordan Thompson and John Peers will play the doubles against Arthur De Greef and Ruben Bemelmans with the reverse singles to be played on Sunday.

In Lille, Dusan Lajovic made a mockery of the absence of Novak Djokovic to give Serbia a shock lead over France in their semi-final.

World No 80 Lajovic edged Lucas Pouille, ranked 58 places higher, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-6 (7/5) in the first rubber of the tie also being played on clay.

“This is what the Davis Cup is all about,” said Serbia captain Nenad Zimonjic, who is without his three leading singles players – Djokovic, who is sidelined until 2018 with a wrist injury, Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki.

However, France, the nine-time champions, levelled the tie at 1-1 when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga downed Davis Cup debutant and world number 95 Laslo Djere, 7-6(2), 6-3, 6-3.

France captain Yannick Noah was critical of his own performance.

“I did not have a very good match as a captain. I was a bit stressed and I think I passed my stress to Lucas,” he said. “I’ll have to improve our communication for the next rubber.”

In the play-offs, where the winners will compete in the World Group next season, 2016 champions Argentina are 1-1 against Kazakhstan after US Open quarter-finalist Diego Schwartzman eased past Dimtri Popko 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

Mikhail Kukushkin had given the hosts the lead by seeing off Guido Pella 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-4.

Boris Becker’s first day as head of men’s tennis with Germany ended with his country – missing brothers Alexander and Mischa Zverev – level at 1-1 in Portugal.

Japan are 2-0 up on Brazil as are the Czech Republic in the Netherlands.

Switzerland, the 2014 champions, are 1-1 against Belarus while Colombia and Croatia and Hungary against Russia also shared the opening day’s honours.

In the play-offs between Canada and India, Ramkumar Ramanathan gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in the tie after beating Brayden Schnur 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-5.

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.