Malaga, Spain, 22 November 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt is feeling confident ahead of a Davis Cup quarterfinal showdown with the Czech Republic in Spain.

It is a must-win tie, as the Australian team continues their quest to win the 2023 title.

“We came here with a purpose,” Hewitt said, declaring his team was determined to better last year’s runner-up finish.

“That’s why we’re here, and that’s why these boys are putting their hands up.”

World No.40 Alexei Popyrin has been elevated into the Australian line-up, replacing an injured Thanasi Kokkinakis.

He joins a strong team, spearheaded by world No.12 Alex de Minaur and world No.4 doubles star Matt Ebden.

Although this is Popyrin’s first Davis Cup appearance since 2021, he did accompany the team during the round-robin stage in September.

The 24-year-old supported from the sidelines as the Aussies recorded victories against France and Switzerland to earn a quarterfinal spot.

Australian team
Player Singles ranking Doubles ranking
Alex de Minaur No.12 No.176
Alexei Popyrin No.40 No.258
Max Purcell No.45 No.35
Jordan Thompson No.56 No.105
Matt Ebden No.4
Captain: Lleyton Hewitt

“It’s been a pretty settled team, to be honest. I haven’t used that many different players,” Hewitt said, noting the advantage of strong team camaraderie.

“Every time they step on the court, they know what they’re playing for and it’s not just themselves. They are playing for each other first, but they’re also playing for the rest of the team and support staff, but they’re also playing for their country.

“It takes a certain player to be able to go out there and perform under those kind of pressures and expectations, and these boys can do it.

“These boys have all had great individual years, so that just gives me more confidence when we go out there, as well. But at the end of the day it’s about the team spirit, the camaraderie, the culture that we have, and I’m sure again that’s going to hold us in good stead this week.”

The Australian team faces the Czech Republic today at the Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena in Malaga from 4pm local time (from 2am AEDT Thursday 23 November).

The Czech team is led by Australian Open 2023 quarterfinalist Jiri Lehecka, who is currently on a seven-match winning streak in Davis Cup.

“We are very young, so we are very hungry,” said the 22-year-old Lehecka. “Davis Cup for all of us is a big priority.”

Czech Republic team
Player Singles ranking Doubles ranking
Jiri Lehecka No.31 No.147
Tomas Machac No.78
Jakub Mensik No.147 No.546
Adam Pavlasek No.56
Captain: Jaroslav Navratil

This is the 10th meeting between the two nations in the Davis Cup competition, with Australia having won eight of their nine previous ties.

The Czech Republic recorded their only Davis Cup win against the Aussies in 1975.

Finland awaits the winner in the semifinals, after eliminating defending champions Canada in the quarterfinals.

Australia’s Davis Cup Finals campaign is broadcast live in Australia on the Nine Network.

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