Davis Cup 2002 Draw is out!
Just got this from CNNSI
Australia faces World Group trip to Argentina
Posted: Thursday October 18, 2001 7:21 AM
ZURICH (Reuters) -- Davis Cup finalists Australia faces a tough trip to Argentina in the first round of the 2002 World Group while France, its opponent in next month's final, stages a repeat of this year's semifinal against the Dutch.
Three of the ties in Thursday's draw -- Spain vs. Morocco, the United States vs. Slovakia and the Czech Republic vs. Brazil -- are a step into the unknown as the countries have never met before in the competition's 102-year history.
Croatia has met eighth seeds Germany only once, when it lost 4-1 in Germany at the same stage in 1995, while Switzerland travels to fifth seed Russia in February knowing it has won the two ties between the two nations.
Top seed Australia, champion 27 times, boasts hard-court specialist Lleyton Hewitt, the U.S. Open champion, and will almost certainly be forced to play on clay in Argentina.
"It's a tough draw for Australia," said former captain Neale Fraser. "Just two weeks after the Australian Open, it means going from the hard courts of Melbourne to the clay of South America.
"We had experience against Brazil and that will help."
Hewitt won both his singles in April's second round in Brazil.
"Argentina has no outstanding players in the top 10 but they have a lot of even players. The tie is five months away and a lot can happen in that time and someone could step forward."
France, seeded second, beat the Netherlands 3-2 in Rotterdam in this year's other World Group semifinal and has never lost to the Dutch in eight meetings.
"It's the hazard of the draw that we play the Netherlands again," said Jean Paul Loth, a member of France's Davis Cup committee.
"It could be an advantage as we are playing them at home but the Dutch thought that (this) year and lost. We've never lost against the Dutch so the pressure will be to keep it going."
Sweden, which lost 4-1 to Australia in this year's semifinals, travels to Britain for their first clash since 1963. Britain won that tie 3-2 on grass but will be forced to play indoors in February. Sweden has won four of the six ties between them.
British captain Roger Taylor said the tie would be played in Birmingham. "It suited us playing on a faster surface the last time (against Portugal in April) and the team were happy with that. But we will discuss the surface among the players.
"There is a great atmosphere in Birmingham. The boys like to play there, they've been successful there and it feels like home."
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