Team boss Rainer Schüttler had already given a first indication at the beginning of the week. “Eva knows that she has to be ready,” said Schüttler shortly after arriving in Croatia about 20-year-old Eva Lys. “It could well be that she’s playing for the first time.”

And indeed: When the German tennis women start the playoff duel with the favorite Croatians in the Billie Jean King Cup this Friday (4 p.m. / Tennis Channel), Lys will face Croatian number one Petra Martic in the opening singles stand. “It was a 50/50 decision, which we talked about for a long time yesterday. Ultimately, we believe that Petra Martic’s game suits Eva a little better,” said Schüttler, explaining the decision in favor of the German champions compared to Anna-Lena Friedsam.

For Lys, it caps a successful year by winning a main draw game for the first time on the WTA Tour. Lys, who was born in Kyiv, is currently 123rd in the world rankings. In the coming year, the top 100 and thus main draw participation in the Grand Slam tournaments are the declared goal. But first of all it is important, together with Jule Niemeier, to protect the German team from relegation. “I’m just really looking forward to the match,” said Lys.