Tomic, Matosevic to open tie for Australia
UPDATE: Bernard Tomic and Marinko Matosevic will represent Australia in the opening singles rubbers on Friday for the Australia v Uzbekistan Davis Cup tie.
It says something about the depth of this Australian Davis Cup squad that captain Pat Rafter can feel comfortable holding back the legendary Lleyton Hewitt from the opening day singles action.
Rafter designated Bernard Tomic and Marinko Matosevic as the Aussie No.1 and No.2 singles players; the first time Hewitt’s name appeared on the draw board at today’s official ceremony was as one half of the Australian doubles combination –pairing with Matt Ebden.
Rafter’s tactics here are pretty obvious. The host nation, Uzbekistan, will be left to await the introduction of the former world No.1 for Sunday’s reverse singles. He has opted to give the talented Victorian, Matosevic, first crack at Uzbek No.1 Denis Istomin.
The Australian captain will need to draw deep on his team’s reserves if it is to breach the fortress Uzbekistan has built in the town of Namangan.
The impressive talent of the highly-fancied Istomin has been the foundation for that fortress an he will again have to carry the load for the host nation – aided and abetted by big serving No.2 player Farrukh Dustov.
Expect one or both of these two to feature in every rubber during this tie.
The reserves of the Aussies could even be further tested, depending upon the recuperative powers of Ebden, who could not attend the draw due to illness. But Rafter is obviously confident he will be okay as he still named him.
The other good signs for the visitors were the practice form of Ebden’s teammates this morning – all impressed.
As Hewitt noted, having just played some quality tennis against Tomic and Matosevic on the practice court: “I am very confident with our team.”
“We know it is going to be a tough tie but we came here with our best team possible and we plan to go out and win.”
Make no mistake, while this is a big ask, the Aussies are very serious in their intentions.
Serious enough to jump off the ATP Tour after Miami and head for the European clay of Munich and train hard for nearly a week before jumping on a chartered flight to Namangan to polish off their preparation for this weekend. That preparation has extended to food, water and security.
All that is left now is to conquer Istomin and crew on their own patch of dirt … no mean feat, but it is not beyond them.
Follow all the action from the 5–7 April tie on Twitter. @tennisaustralia will keep you up to date with scores, news and photos as the tie unfolds.
|Friday 5 April – 10am (4pm AEDT)|
|R1||Farrukh Dustov (UZB)||v||Bernard Tomic (AUS)|
|R2||Denis Istomin (UZB)||v||Marinko Matosevic (AUS)|
|Saturday 6 April – 12pm (6pm AEDT)|
|R3||Farukh Dustov/Denis Istomin (UZB)||v||Lleyton Hewitt/Matt Ebden (AUS)|
|Sunday 7 April – 10am (3pm AEST)|
|R4*||Denis Istomin (UZB)||v||Bernard Tomic (AUS)|
|R5*||Farrukh Dustov (UZB)||v||Marinko Matosevic (AUS)|
|*The reverse singles line-ups could change prior to the beginning of play.|