Stanislas Wawrinka is keen to fulfil his Davis Cup commitment for Switzerland as the new Australian Open champion leads his side into a first-round tie in Serbia, who is missing world number two Novak Djokovic.
“Davis Cup, it’s really important for me. I’m really proud. It’s a big honour to play for my country,” he said. “So for sure I’m going to be there.” Djokovic announced after going down to Wawrinka that he would not be available for Davis Cup, instead returning to Belgrade and skiing this week before resuming his tournament schedule next month in Dubai.
Serbia lost the final at home in December as the Czech Republic earned the trophy for a second year in succession.
In the Czech industrial city of Ostrava, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek will attempt to recreate the magic, which led the nation to its recent titles in a first-round meeting with the Netherlands.
Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori clash in Tokyo again as resurgent Canada face Japan.
Canada will be hoping Vasek Pospisil has fully recovered after a back injury scare, which caused him to withdraw before an Australian Open match.
“For sure it’s going to be a really tough match even if we play at home,” said Nishikori. “Raonic and [Pospisil] are doing well right now and they have a great doubles so it’s not going to be an easy tie.”
Britain and the US face off in San Diego in a battle between the two original Davis nations, with Andy Murray heading the British effort against the Americans on a clay court laid down amid a baseball pitch.
The strategic choice of surface might not be the best for Murray’s delicate back.
In Frankfurt, Tommy Haas heads Germany against a weakened Spain, which is missing Rafael Nadal. Argentina host Italy in Mar del Plata and Kazakhstan face Belgium in Astana.