Lleyton Hewitt will lead Australia’s Davis Cup charge against Japan at Brisbane’s Pat Rafter Arena in two weeks.
A win will put the team just one step away from moving back into the world group.
Ryan Clark reports.
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Lleyton Hewitt will make his return to the national team for the crucial final round of the Asia / Oceania group stage.
Partnering Hewitt will be Peter Luczak, Carsten Ball and Paul Hanley.
John Fitzgerald, Australian Coach: “We think that’s a well balanced team for a clay court tie, it gives us some really good options both in singles and in doubles.”
Victory will lift Australia into the world group play offs, with a win there promoting the Aussies to the main draw for 2011.
Hewitt is Australia’s most prolific Davis Cup winner with 33 singles victories for just nine losses.
His inclusion adding to the weight of expectation on the team.
John Fitzgerald, Australian Coach: “They’re more of a hardcourt paying nation and we I think have an all round team who can play on all different surfaces, but we’re strong on clay, particularly with Lleyton in the team.”
The tie, will be played on a specially constructed clay court.
It’s the first time in 10 years Brisbane has hosted a Davis Cup tie with the clay adding a new dimension.
The surface will present a challenge to the players, but Fitzgerald is confident Australia will adapt faster.
John Fitzgerald, Australian Coach: “The main reason is because we think clay gives us the best percentage chance of beating the opposition, with who they have and with who we have.”
Australia has a dominant record over Japan losing just two of the past 16 ties. They will firm as favourites after Japan’s top ranked player Kei Nishikori was ruled out with a stress fracture.
Ryan Clark, QUT News