Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Aussie Big Hitters Threaten Cup Rout

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Aussie Big Hitters Threaten Cup Rout

Article excerpt


Chris Jones Chris Jones

JOHN FITZGERALD, the Australian captain, today named a powerful team that threatens to heap more embarrassment on British sport in the Davis Cup world group tie in Sydney next month.

And despite Tim Henman insisting he is not fit to play, Fitzgerald today claimed the British No1 could still be a surprise late inclusion in Sydney.

As it stands, though, the Australians will take on a British team missing their top three players - Henman, Greg Rusedski and Martin Lee - with a squad headed by world No1 Lleyton Hewitt and backed up by Wayne Arthurs, ranked 52nd, Mark Philippoussis, the world No104, doubles expert Todd Woodbrige and the talented Scott Draper and Jaymon Crabb.

Britain, in contrast, will look to Arvind Parmar, Lee Childs, Miles Maclagan, Alex Bogdanovic and Alan Mackin - ranked 161st, 333rd, 444th, 459th and 479th in the world respectively - and will be lucky to win a set, never mind the tie.

To add to British woes, the tie will be played on clay - traditionally their weakest surface.

But Fitzgerald, who welcomes back Philippoussis following the player's row with his predecessor, said: "The bottom line is that if this is a forgone conclusion and something goes wrong then heads could roll. We are going to prepare as if they are going to put out their strongest team because you can change the line-up up to 24 hours before the tie starts."

British captain Roger Taylor said before flying out today: "It's a big loss not to have Tim in the team and for the first time in six years a GB Davis Cup team will be going into a tie without either Tim or Greg Rusedski.

I know how hard he has worked to get fit and I know how disappointed he feels that he won't be joining us on this occasion."

Meanwhile, Serena and Venus Williams face each other in a fourth successive Grand Slam final tomorrow. Neither sister has won the Australian Open before, but one of them will lift the trophy to prove to the tennis world that 2003 is going to see another 12 months of Williams domination.

If World No1 Serena wins she will have captured her self-styled " Serena Slam" and join a select group of women who have held all four major titles at the same time. …

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