Croatia has won the Davis Cup men's team tennis title for the first time. Craig Gabriel reports from Bratislava where the final was decided in the final match when Mario Ancic won in straight sets.
Croatia has become only the 12th nation to win the Davis Cup. The final between host Slovakia and Croatia went down to the wire.
Croatia went into the final day with a 2-1 lead. But Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty leveled things with a stirring 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Ivan Ljubicic, who was struggling with a neck injury and almost did not play. He was given injections and tablets to relieve the discomfort, but found the going tough.
However, full credit is given to Hrbaty for keeping Slovakia alive. It was down to Mario Ancic and Michal Mertinak to decide the champion nation. And Ancic's experience won through, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4. He said he tried to remain calm.
"With emotions, I was very focused on my serve. So I got my first points couple points with it. And later, with a lot of emotions, I just tried to play solid and focus on very, very basic things. It was an unbelievable feeling when the last one [point] went out," Mario Ancic says.
So Croatia is the champion for 2005. In February, they open their title defense against Austria in Austria.