Former Grand Slam champions Roger Federer and Andy Murray headline the marquee in the first round of Davis Cup this weekend. Among the eight ties scheduled, Federer and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka lead Switzerland into combat against Serbia who are without Novak Djokovic.
“I always kept a tiny door open and I am glad to be here,” Federer said. “Playing here is something I was excited about when I left Australia. I spoke to team captain Severin Luthi and Stan, we talked about it and the decision was made pretty quickly.
“My priority is to win tomorrow’s match and I am looking forward to the entire weekend but not much further than that. I don’t want to think too far ahead. We have a chance but this is a year-long competition and there is plenty of time.”
Meanwhile, Murray is in San Diego where he’ll anchor Great Britain’s hopes against team USA. The reigning Wimbledon champion is expected to play all three days against a USA team without John Isner who withdrew. Isner will be replaced by Donald Young who will make his Davis Cup debut.
“I obviously want to win as many matches as possible,” Murray said. “I’ll try to win as many points as I can. If I’m required to play all three days I’ll give it my best shot.
“I’m feeling fine,” Murray said of his back. “I’ve been surprised by the recovery. It’s a long process, it’s hard, it’s challenging mentally to come back from a surgery but I’ve trained hard and have done all the right rehab.”
Another intriguing tie sends Italy down to Argentina where Seppi/Fognini will clash with Berlocq/Monaco on the red clay in a very even matchup. And teen sensation Nick Kyrgios will join Lleyton Hewitt as Australia travels to Europe to take on a very deep French team.
Davis Cup Notes (ITF):
Czech Republic v Netherlands – Ostrava, CZE – hard (indoors)
Head-to-head: Czech Republic leads 4-1
Two-time defending champion Czech Republic begins the defence of its title with a home tie against Netherlands. Czech Republic is looking to extend its nation-record winning streak to 10 straight ties, while newly promoted Netherlands will hope to cause a huge upset and reach the World Group quarterfinals for the first time since 2005.
R1: Radek Stepanek (CZE) v Robin Haase (NED)
R2: Tomas Berdych (CZE) v Igor Sijsling (NED)
R3: Lukas Rosol/Jiri Vesely (CZE) v Thiemo de Bakker/Jean-Julien Rojer (NED)
R4: Tomas Berdych (CZE) v Robin Haase (NED)
R5: Radek Stepanek (CZE) v Igor Sijsling (NED)
Japan v Canada – Tokyo, JPN – hard (indoors)
Head-to-head: Japan leads 5-0
Canada faces a testing trip to Tokyo as last year’s semfinalist bids for its first win over Japan on their sixth meeting. The two teams are meeting for the first time since 1938, with Canada looking for just its third World Group win since the formation of the elite tier in 1981 and Japan bidding to reach the World Group quarterfinals for the first time.
R1: Kei Nishikori (JPN) v Peter Polansky (CAN)
R2: Go Soeda (JPN) v Frank Dancevic (CAN)
R3: Yuichi Sugita / Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) v Daniel Nestor / Vasek Pospisil (CAN)
R4: Kei Nishikori (JPN) v Frank Dancevic (CAN)
R5: Go Soeda (JPN) v Peter Polansky(CAN)
Germany v Spain – Frankfurt, GER – hard (indoors)
Head-to-head: Germany leads 9-6
Germany will be hoping to spring an upset when the nation plays host to 5-time champion Spain in Frankfurt. Germany is looking to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011, but will have to stop a Spanish side that will be determined to avoid suffering back-to-back first round defeats for the first time since 2005-06.
R1: Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
R2: Florian Mayer (GER) v Feliciano Lopez (ESP)
R3: Daniel Brands / Tommy Haas (GER) v David Marrero / Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
R4: Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v Feliciano Lopez (ESP)
R5: Florian Mayer (GER) v Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
France v Australia – La Roche sur Yon, FRA – clay (indoors)
Head-to-head: Australia leads 10-4
France hosts Australia, who returns to the elite 16 nation pool after six years in Zone Group action, looking to reach the quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive year. France has lost 10 of its 14 meetings with Australia but will hope to narrow the deficit in their previous head-to-heads and deny the visitors a spot in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006.
R1: Richard Gasquet (FRA) v Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
R2: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
R3: Julien Benneteau / Gael Monfils (FRA) v Chris Guccione / Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
R4: Richard Gasquet (FRA) v Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
R5: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
USA v Great Britain – San Diego, USA – clay (outdoors)
Head-to-head: USA leads 11-7
USA opens its 100th year of Davis Cup competition against Great Britain in San Diego, the first meeting between the two teams since 1999. USA leads the head-to-head 11-7, but the visiting nation will be determined to reach its first World Group quarterfinal since 1986.
R1: Donald Young (USA) v Andy Murray (GBR)
R2: Sam Querrey (USA) v James Ward (GBR)
R3: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) v Colin Fleming/Andy Murray (GBR)
R4: Sam Querrey (USA) v Andy Murray (GBR)
R5: Donald Young (USA) v James Ward (GBR)
Argentina v Italy – Mar del Plata, ARG – clay (outdoors)
Head-to-head: Argentina leads 1-0
Argentina will look to preserve its record of reaching the quarterfinals or better every year since returning to the World Group in 2002 when it takes on Italy in Mar del Plata. Italy reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 1998 last year, however, and will be keen for a repeat performance this year.
R1: Carlos Berlocq (ARG) v Andreas Seppi (ITA)
R2: Juan Monaco (ARG) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
R3: Eduardo Schwank / Horacio Zeballos (ARG) v Simone Bolelli / Filippo Volandri (ITA)
R4: Carlos Berlocq (ARG) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
R5: Juan Monaco (ARG) v Andreas Seppi (ITA)
Kazakhstan v Belgium – Astana, KAZ – hard (indoors)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Kazakhstan is looking to reproduce the kind of form that saw it reach the quarterfinals for a second time last year when the nation hosts Belgium in Astana. Belgium is bidding to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007, having lost in the first round in 12 of its 15 previous appearances.
R1: Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) v Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)
R2: Andrey Golubev (KAZ) v David Goffin (BEL)
R3: Evgeny Korolev / Denis Yevseyev (KAZ) v Kimmer Coppejans / Olivier Rochus (BEL)
R4: Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) v David Goffin (BEL)
R5: Andrey Golubev (KAZ) v Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)
Serbia v Switzerland – Novi Sad, SRB – hard (indoors)
Head-to-head: tied 2-2
Since the World Group was introduced in 1981, at least one unseeded nation has always reached the quarterfinals with a record four doing so in 1987 and 2005. This is the 34th year of the World Group.
R1: Ilija Bozoljac (SRB) v Roger Federer (SUI)
R2: Dusan Lajovic (SRB) v Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
R3: Filip Krajinovic/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) v Marco Chiudinelli/Michael Lammer (SUI)
R4: Dusan Lajovic (SRB) v Roger Federer (SUI)
R5: Ilija Bozoljac (SRB) v Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
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