Tomic to lead Australia in Davis Cup clash against China

Updated: 07 July 2011 16:33 IST

Rising star Bernard Tomic will lead Australia in their Davis Cup clash against China in Beijing this weekend, with long-time team leader Lleyton Hewitt left out of the opening singles matches.

Tomic to lead Australia in Davis Cup clash against China

Beijing:

Rising star Bernard Tomic will lead Australia in their Davis Cup clash against China in Beijing this weekend, with long-time team leader Lleyton Hewitt left out of the opening singles matches.

Tomic, who reached this year's Wimbledon quarter-finals, will be Australia's number one player in the Asia-Oceania zone qualifying tie against China while debutant Marinko Matosevic, ranked 141, has beaten Hewitt for second spot.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Hewitt, who made his Davis Cup debut in 1999, is Australia's most successful Davis Cup player with a 36-9 record in singles and 8-3 record in doubles.

Hewitt, who will be playing in his 30th Davis Cup tie against the Chinese at the Beijing International Tennis Centre in the July 8-10 match, will partner Chris Guccione in Saturday's doubles rubber.

The 30-year-old has been passed by Tomic in the ATP rankings after the teenager's fine run at Wimbledon, where he was beaten by eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

Only Boris Becker, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg reached the Wimbledon last eight at a younger age than Tomic, 18, and he is seen as a future Grand Slam champion.

Tomic slashed his ranking from 158 to a current 71, while former world number one Hewitt has slumped to 173.

Tomic, who has played one Davis Cup tie winning both his singles matches against Taiwan in Melbourne last year, believes he can follow Hewitt and become the backbone of the Australian team.

"I think in the years to come I'll get better and improve even more which will help out the Davis Cup more," said Tomic.

It is new captain Pat Rafter's first Davis Cup match in charge after taking over from long-time incumbent John Fitzgerald and he is satisfied there are no lingering issues between Tomic and Hewitt despite their strained relationship in the past.

"Obviously, that was something we were concerned about when we came into it, but they have been fantastic," Rafter said.

"They've been getting along really well and that's been important."

Rafter has warned his Australian team not to be complacent heading into the tie against China, which they are expected to dominate. A win would earn a berth in the World Group play-off in September.

Rafter said China were a challenge in the Davis Cup and had a "very good win" against Taiwan, adding: "I expect them to be very tough and a very disciplined team."

China have named a young team including 19-year-old Wu Di (ranked 404), who was one of the heroes of their win over Taiwan when he beat Lu Yen-Hsen 9-7 in the fifth set.

The team also features 20-year-old Ze Zhang, 23-year-old Gong Mao-Xin and 24-year-old doubles specialist Li Zhe, all under the captaincy of Zeng Shao-Xuan.

Topics : Tennis Australia Lleyton Hewitt Bernard Tomic
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