|Posted on April 4, 2014 at 1:00 AM|
DAVIS CUP NEWS
There have been some changes to the Japan and Czech Republic line-ups ahead of the opening rubbers on Friday.
World No. 18 Kei Nishikori was all set to lead the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas charge for the home side BUT he is now out after picking up a groin injury at the Sony Open in Miami. Taro Daniel - with a world ranking of 191 - is in to replace Nishikori.
Sad news for Tomas Berdych fans. The big man is not playing for the defending Czech champs in Tokyo after a hectic few weeks on the tour while Jan Hajek has also had to withdraw because of injury. Remarkably that leaves the Czechs fielding a three-man team.
Czech Davis Cup team traveled from Prague to Tokyo via Helsinki
Next tie 4-8 April 2014
The Czechs will travel to Japan in the World Group quarterfinals as they continue their bid for a third straight Davis Cup title. They have met twice before in the competition, competing under the Czechoslovakian flag, but have not faced each other since 1935.
Last tie 31 January - 2 February 2014
Czech Republic defeated Netherlands on home soil in Ostrava thanks to Tomas Berdych who helped them overcome the loss of the first rubber with two singles victories either side of a doubles triumph alongside Radek Stepanek to avoid the upset.
Following their 2013 victory over Serbia, Czech Republic have now won the Davis Cup on three occasions. The first victory came in 1980, when they played as Czechoslovakia, with the second coming in 2012. They have also finished runners-up on two further occasions, in 1975 and 2009. Along with USA, they have appeared in the World Group in all but one year. Czech players represented Czechoslovakia until 1992, and then Czech/Slovak Republics in 1993.
training hard ahead competition
The Czech team at the official dinner
The Japanese team at the official dinner
The traditional gala dinner was held on Wednesday evening
Draw ceremony on Thursday, April 3, 2014 - His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino, the youngest son of Japan's Emperor Akihito, presided over the draw.
Here's the draw in full:
R1: Tatsuma Ito (JPN) v Radek Stepanek (CZE)
R2: Taro Daniel (JPN) v Lukas Rosol (CZE)
R3: Tatsuma Ito/Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) v Radek Stepanek/
Jiri VeselyLukas Rolsol (CZE)
Tatsuma ItoYasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) v Lukas Rosol (CZE)
R5: Taro Daniel (JPN) v
Radek StepanekJiri Vesely (CZE)
Japanese Davis Cup team
Czech Davis Cup team
both teams pose for a photo at draw ceremony on Thursday 3 April 2014
Prince Akishino of Japan and referee Wayne McKewen