The experience of Lleyton Hewitt and youthful exuberance of Nick Kyrgios will spearhead Australia’s bid to remain in the world group of the Davis Cup against Uzbekistan in Perth this week.
With Bernard Tomic and Marinko Matosevic both unavailable for selection, team captain Pat Rafter will be relying on Australia’s two highest ranked men’s players – aged 14 years apart – in the singles.
The pair were obvious selections alongside Sam Groth, who looks set to make his Davis Cup debut, and doubles partner Chris Guccione, who have claimed six titles this season.
Having been comprehensively beaten by France earlier in the year, Australia will need to beat Uzbekistan for the second straight year in order to retain their status in the world’s top tier.
Rafter says the Aussies will go into the tie, that will take place on grass at a newly renovated Cottesloe Tennis Club, full of confidence given their recent individual form.
“It’s been a big couple of months for the boys and we’ve seen some good results, both on grass during and after Wimbledon, and at the US Open last week,“ Rafter said.
“Lleyton won the title in Newport, Nick had a fantastic run at Wimbledon, beating Rafa (Rafael Nadal) to make the quarters and he continued his momentum at the US Open.
“‘Gooch’ and Sam have won six doubles titles together alone this year and I’m pleased to bring Sam into the team for his Davis Cup debut.
“Uzbekistan have a strong and competitive team likely to be spearheaded by Denis Istomin. We’re very determined to win and we’ll have to be on top of our game to beat them.”
Australia have been crowned Davis Cup champions on 28 occasions, the last time coming in 2003. Play gets under way this Thursday and you can catch all the action live from Perth in the clubhouse at SSC.