Santiago: The United States doesn't have home-court advantage against Chile but it's favoured even on Santiago's clay courts this weekend.
The Americans feature world No. 8 Andy Roddick, No. 32 John Isner and the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan. They also have Jim Courier, a four-time Grand Slam champion, making his debut as captain.
None of the three Chileans playing this weekend are ranked in the top 150 in the world. Fernando Gonzalez, Chile's most accomplished player and a former top-10 star, was out of action with a hip injury.
Paul Capdeville was Chile's highest-ranked player at No. 165.
Nicolas Massu, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in singles and doubles, was No. 241 after years of fighting injuries.
The Chileans will send Massu and Jorge Aguilar into doubles action. Guillermo Rivera-Aranguiz was not selected to play during the draw on Thursday at the tie venue, Estadio Nacional Court Central.
Roddick, returning to Davis Cup after taking last year off from the competition, will start the tie facing Massu on Friday. That match will be followed by Isner against Capdeville.
"I did miss it (Davis Cup)," Roddick said of not playing last season. "I missed these guys, the competition and the spirit of it all.
"It's a big reason why I came back and the opportunity to play for Jim was a big factor as well."
Without Roddick last year, the U.S. lost to eventual champion Serbia in the first round, and stayed in the World Group by winning a playoff against Colombia in Bogota. The star of that win, Mardy Fish, wasn't available this time because of a thyroid problem.
Saturday's doubles lines up the Byran twins against Aguilar and Massu.
In Sunday's reverse singles, Roddick will play Capdeville in the first match, and Isner will take on Massu in the last match of the weekend.
Courier, a former Davis Cup star who played on the 1992 and 1995 winning U.S. teams, believes his team can deal with the unfavorable factors of playing in Chile: Clay courts and being away from home.
"Going in and playing an away tie is always a challenge," Courier said. "The one thing about the Davis Cup is that the home team has the advantage of setting the conditions as they like.
"Having said that we're very hopeful this week. And the altitude here helps us as we have four great servers on this team. We're not expecting it to be easy, but as far as the conditions go we're comfortable."
Hans Gildemeister, the longtime Chile captain, acknowledged the Americans have the advantage, but was hopeful that the home crowd, dirt court and expectations for the U.S. to succeed will work in Chile's favor.
"I think the pressure is on America and I hope tomorrow they are going to feel the pressure on the court," Gildemeister said. "I hope that tomorrow will be very competitive. And we all know the pressure of playing Davis Cup is very different than playing on the ATP Tour.
The Americans need to beat us. They have the better rankings, they have a great team, and we are the underdog. I like that."
The U.S. holds a 4-0 record over Chile. They last met in 2006.