ATP Tour

Czechs to battle on without Berdych

2017-01-25 11:00
(File, AFP)

Prague - The Czech Republic will send a squad weakened by the loss of world No 10 Tomas Berdych to face Australia in their Davis Cup first round encounter next month.

World No 53 Jiri Vesely will head up the squad in Berdych's absence for the February 2-5 tie in Kooyong, skipper Jaroslav Navratil said on Tuesday.

Vesely, a 23-year-old left-hander, will be backed up by veteran Radek Stepanek, ranked 102nd at the age of 38, as well as two debutants - Jan Satral, ranked 164th, and world No 238th Zdenek Kolar as the Czechs take on the 28-time champions.

While Berdych sits out the tie having already headed Down Under for the Australian Open as he concentrates on the Tour, 86th-ranked Adam Pavlasek and 118th-ranked Lukas are both injured.

"We shan't start out favourite - but rankings are not always the determining factor in Davis Cup," insisted Navratil.

Australia skipper Lleyton Hewitt has called up world No 13 Nick Kyrgios, Sam Groth (162nd), Jordan Thompson (76th) and doubles specialist, John Peers.

Australia have won seven of eight previous meetings between the two countries - including a 3-2 success in 2015 at Ostrava.

Read more on:    davis cup  |  tomas berdych  |  tennis

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