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Sports

Kohlmann looks to future after Germany crash to France in Davis Cup

Given only a month to prepare for his first Davis Cup tie as German team captain, Michael Kohlmann remained upbeat after losing a best-of-five encounter with competition favorite France.

Germany's nascent Davis Cup captain Michael Kohlmann struck a positive note on Sunday despite losing his first tie in charge of the national team.

Philipp Kohlschreiber and debutant Jan-Lennard Struff salvaged some German pride by winning the final two matches, to peg France back to a 3-2 win in their World Group round 1 tie in Frankfurt.

"We have to take away the overall positive feeling throughout this week, even if we have lost," said Kohlmann, who succeeded Carsten Arriens last month. “We had a great mood. That's just been the start."

Kohlschreiber beat Gilles Simon 7-6, 6-4, while Struff overcame Nicolas Mahut 7-6, 6-3, in matches reduced to a best-of-three sets.

Both encounters were dead rubbers before a ball was struck because Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut comfortably overcame Germany's doubles pairing of Benjamin Becker/Andre Begemann 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday, to give France an unassailable 3-0 lead in the tie.

Michael Kohlmann

Michael Kohlmann : "This is just the start."

Kohlmann won five doubles titles in a 16-year playing career but the Hagen-born 41-year-old lamented a lack of focus on the discipline.

"Unfortunately, Germany somehow places no value in the doubles, (but) it features very large in the Davis Cup," Kohlmann said on Sunday. "We must get it right that our players in the tournaments compete together frequently."

Tie lost on black Friday

The real damage to German hopes had been done on Friday, however, when Simon beat Struff 7-6, 2-6, 6-7, 6-2, 10-8 in a marathon match lasting over four hours, after Gael Monfils had won the opening rubber for France by beating Kohlschreiber in straight sets.

Germany has not beaten France in the Davis Cup since 1938. In last year's quarterfinal match-up, France recovered from losing the opening singles rubbers to win the tie and later reach the final, which it lost 3-1 to a Roger Federer-inspired Switzerland.

Germany will learn its Davis Cup fate when the draw for the relegation play-offs (18 to 20 September 2015) is made on July 21.

Kohlmann will be hoping to have veteran Tommy Haas available for selection if the 36-year-old has recovered from surgery on his injured right shoulder.

pwh/rd (AP, SID)