Hewitt to lead Australia in Davis Cup against Argentina
Lleyton Hewitt has agreed to lead Australia in this month's Davis Cup semi-final against Argentina despite safety concerns and an injured knee.india Updated: Sep 12, 2006 10:12 IST
Lleyton Hewitt has agreed to lead Australia in this month's Davis Cup semi-final against Argentina in South America despite safety concerns and an injured knee.
The former world number one, an unpopular figure in Argentina, had been a doubt for the Sept. 22-24 tie because of a knee injury which he carried through the US Open but was selected today in a four-man team.
Hewitt will be joined by a resurgent Mark Philippoussis, who returns to the Australian team for the first time in more than two-and-a-half years, as well as doubles specialists Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley.
"I'm delighted to be able to be able to draw on our strongest line up for this semi-final which will give us the maximum chance of pulling off an upset victory," Australia's non-playing captain John Fitzgerald said in a statement.
Australia's most successful Davis Cup player, with 28 singles victories, Hewitt had been reluctant to commit himself to playing in Argentina, where he was once voted one of the world's most unpopular sportsmen.
He has been at the centre of a series of disputes with several Argentine players in the past and said he was concerned about his safety until being given reassurances about security.
Argentina, whose team is likely to be spearheaded by world number four David Nalbandian, beat Australia 5-0 on clay in Buenos Aires four years ago and 4-1 on grass in Sydney last year and will start as overwhelming favourites to win next month's tie and advance to their first final since 1981.
"Argentina has now reached the semi-finals four times in five years since returning to the World Group in 2002. They haven't lost a home tie in eight years so it will be a tough encounter," Fitzgerald said.
First Published: Sep 12, 2006 10:12 IST