Lleyton Hewitt and Nick Kyrgios will take on the US in the Davis Cup in Brisbane.
Lleyton Hewitt and Nick Kyrgios will take on the US in the Davis Cup in Brisbane. JOE CASTRO

Brisbane gets nod for Davis Cup clash

TENNIS: Brisbane will host its biggest Davis Cup tie in more than a decade, with Pat Rafter Arena chosen by Tennis Australia as the venue for April's clash with the United States.

The rivalry between the competition's two most successful countries will be rekindled on hardcourts at Rafter Arena in the April 7-9 quarter-final.

TA has called media to an announcement in Brisbane tomorrow.

It is the biggest Cup match-up in Brisbane since 1999, when a teenage Lleyton Hewitt and rookie Wayne Arthurs took Australia to a win over Russia's Grand Slam title winners Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin at what is now the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre.

Australian captain Hewitt said after the win over the Czech Republic in Melbourne this month that he did not know what the Davis Cup future was for Bernard Tomic, who made himself unavailable for the Melbourne tie, citing a priority for tournament commitments.

Incoming TA head of performance Wally Masur said last week he would speak to Tomic to reinforce that the "door is open" to him to return to the team after regular recent dialogue between Masur and Tomic's father and coach, John.

Tomic has more immediate problems, such as finding his next win after a second consecutive first-round loss in an ATP tournament in Delray Beach, Florida.

The sixth-seeded Tomic lost to Belgian Steve Darcis 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 after leading 4-1 in the third set and attracted social media criticism for a lack of urgency in his movement in some rallies.

Four tournaments into 2017, the world No. 31's only two wins were at the Australian Open.

There had been reports that Rafter Arena was out of the running to host the tie because the International Tennis Federation insists on a 6000-seat minimum capacity for a world group quarter-final.

But, as The Courier-Mail reported, national associations can seek approval from the ITF to play at a smaller venue such as the 5500-seat Rafter Arena.

The Americans, captained by former world No. 1 Jim Courier, played top-25 players Jack Sock and John Isner in singles in their first-round win over Switzerland.

World No. 16 Nick Kyrgios is the top-ranked player in either team.

Players involved in the Davis Cup tie, including Kyrgios and Australian No. 3 Jordan Thompson, will come to Brisbane to practice soon after their commitments end at the Miami Masters from March 22 to April 2 on hardcourts.

The Americans would be slight favourites on the rankings to see off an Australian team which played again without Tomic, who has made no public comment about his intentions.

The Australia-US tie in Brisbane extends the city's historic link to the Davis Cup, as one of the most famous Challenge Rounds was played at Milton in 1958.

In it, Alex Olmedo spearheaded a surprise US victory over Australian Grand Slam title winners Ashley Cooper and Mal Anderson.

Australia won a 1986 tie over the US at Milton on the way to victory in that year's final against Sweden at Kooyong.

Sock, ranked No. 22, nine places better than Tomic, has won two ATP titles and had two wins last year over top-10 players, Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem.

Teams will be named in the second half of March.

News Corp Australia


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