Levine looks ahead to Davis Cup semis


Jesse Levine says his Davis Cup dream is driving him on at Wimbledon.

The tenacious 25-year-old set up a second-round clash against eighth seed Juan Martin Del Potro after Guido Pella was forced to retire injured following a bad fall during their first-round clash on Tuesday.

Ranked 107 in the world, Levine hopes his performance will help catch the eye of Canadian team captain Martin Laurendeau ahead of the World Group semi-final against Serbia in September.

Competing at SW19 for the fourth time, Levine stormed into a two-set lead, but a resilient Pella fought back to win the next two and take the contest into the final set. Levine led 4-3 in the decider but Pella was left in tears after injuring his leg.

"I hope he can come back soon," said Levine. "They called for a stretcher, which is never a good sign.

"I wanted to see if Guido was alright and show good sportsmanship, but the umpire wouldn’t let me and he told me to go back to seat."

Having failed to break into the American Davis Cup team, Levine applied to the International Tennis Federation at the end of last year to change allegiances to Canada.

"Marty [Laurendeau] has been watching me in training. That never happened when I played representing America. We speak regularly and they have welcomed me with open arms. It’s been an amazing experience so far.

"I’m really happy but I’m still close to the guys from the USA. They make fun sometimes but it’s all in good spirits. I’m sure they would’ve done the same in my position.

"It’ll be a big honour to represent Canada in the Davis Cup, and at the Olympics too one day. Overall I’m not where I want to be in terms of my ranking but I love Wimbledon as us little guys have more of a chance on grass.

"All players have to make some little adjustments on this surface. The ball can be a little bit heavy so the tension of your strings is important as there is not as much spin as on clay or the hard courts and it can be hard for the big guys to move around.

"I’m always looking to progress as a player and a person and hope to beat my career high of 67, but one step at a time."

Wayne Odesnik was eliminated in the first round, going down in five-sets in the battle of the qualifiers against Jimmy Wan of Taiwan.

Odesnik said: "It’s an honour to be playing here, but all credit to Jimmy who played some great tennis."

Scott Lipsky and Santiago Gonzalez made a winning start in the Men’s Doubles. The 10th seeds beat Paolo Lorenzi and Benoit Paire in straight sets to set up a potential meeting against Vasek Pospisil and Levine.

Lipsky said: "It’s important to get any early nerves out of the way. We played well and closed the game out."

There was no Israeli representation in the Ladies Singles after Shahar Peer and Julia Glushko lost in the final qualifying round.

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