Hewitt ready, but Belgians kept guessing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hewitt ready, but Belgians kept guessing

By Valkerie Mangnall 08/02/2007 11:23:39 PM Comments (0)

Lleyton Hewitt may be set for a heavy workload during this weekend's Davis Cup tie against Belgium, but Australian captain John Fitzgerald will keep the opposition guessing.

Hewitt was named to play singles and doubles in the clash, which starts at the Country Hall in Liege, Belgium, at 11.30pm Friday (AEDT).

But Fitzgerald said he could well change his line-up after the opening singles matches.

"That combination that we've put forward in our mind at the moment is what we think can do the job, but things can change after a tough, long first day if necessary," Fitzgerald said.

World No.18 Hewitt was drawn to play No.41 Kristof Vliegen in the first match of the tie.

Chris Guccione was the other singles player nominated by Fitzgerald and will play the Belgian team's top-ranked player, Olivier Rochus (34) in the second match.

Hewitt was then named to team up with Paul Hanley, who is ranked No.7 in the world in doubles, to face the Belgian combination of Dick Norman and Christophe Rochus.

In the reverse singles, Rochus will face Hewitt in the first match, followed by Vliegen against Guccione.

The other member of Australia's team, Peter Luczak, wasn't nominated for the draw.

For his part, Hewitt was happy to be called upon to play singles and doubles if needed.

"It doesn't worry me," Hewitt said.

"We'll sit down and work things out after both singles matches tomorrow night but I'm more than happy to play all three days.

"Physically I feel ready to handle the workload and to try and get as many points for Australia as possible."

And Hewitt felt he had sufficiently shaken off a chest cold he was suffering from earlier in the week to go the distance.

"I've played enough big matches and tough five set matches to bounce back before," he said.

"I feel like I've done enough hard yards to be in good enough shape to play all three days."

An indoor clay court, a long flight, a lack of experience in all but one of their players and snowy weather in Liege should have the Australians feeling way out of their comfort zone.

But they have spent more than a week in this east Belgian town of 187,000 and Fitzgerald believes they are ready.

"Everyone was keen to come early and do everything we could to prepare - we've done that and we feel like we're as prepared as we could be," Fitzgerald said.

Hewitt is by far the most experienced Australian with 40 Davis Cup appearances, including four finals and two titles.

It seems not so long ago that he was the precocious youngster just starting out in the team.

Now, at 25 and starting his ninth year in the Davis Cup, he is the elder statesman, with Fitzgerald rating him as the best player in the men's team competition over the past six years.

Fitzgerald said: "To have him lead these other guys is quite inspirational for them."

Australia won the last of their 28 Davis Cups in 2003 when they beat Spain 3-1 in Melbourne, while Belgium is seeking their first title, having returned to the World Group after a three-year absence.

The Belgians beat 2005 runner-up the Slovak Republic in last year's World Group playoffs.

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