Pat Rafter wary of "awkward Chinese"
Australia`s new Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has picked once-feuding rivals Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt as he hopes to blow away China in a must-win tie in Beijing on July 8-10.
London: Australia`s new Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter has picked once-feuding rivals Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt as he hopes to blow away China in a must-win tie in Beijing on July 8-10.
The former world number one replaced John Fitzgerald in October and knows Australia, former Davis Cup giants, can afford no slip-ups in their bid to earn a world group playoff spot.
"It is a very winnable tie for us and we go in with a very strong team," Rafter said from his team`s training camp in London.
"The Chinese are awkward, they are very disciplined. They do the fundamentals very well, they play very well at home."
Big-hitting 18-year-old Tomic, fresh from reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals this week, has not always seen eye to eye with Hewitt, now in the twilight of an illustrious career.
A row flared between the two last year when Hewitt said Tomic should not be picked for the Davis Cup, triggering claims of "racism" as the spat escalated.
However, Rafter has promised to cracks heads together when the Australians travel to China and warned his players not to get caught off guard in Beijing.
"Our biggest problem is if we are complacent and we take them easy," he said. "That will be the one thing that I will jam down their throats -- they will be very tough."
It would take a huge shock to prevent Australia claiming a world playoff berth in September, with Tomic and Hewitt joined by Chris Guccione, Marinko Matosevic and Peter Luczak.
China, yet to come anywhere close to the country`s women in terms of becoming a world force, are pinning their hopes on 19-year-old Wu Di, ranked 409th in the world.
Australia are the second most successful team in the Davis Cup, winning the title 28 times, behind the United States, who have 32 victories.
The Aussies last won it in 2003, while Serbia are the current holders.