New Zealand name experienced Davis and Fed Cup teams for Asia Oceania group games

  • 14/01/2018
New Zealand doubles specialist Michael Venus has been included.
New Zealand doubles specialist Michael Venus has been included. Photo credit: Getty

Davis Cup captain Alistair Hunt has named an experienced New Zealand team for next month's crucial Asia Oceania group one tie against China in Tianjin.

Top-ranked singles player Rubin Statham joins doubles specialists Michael Venus, Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak while promising 17-year-old Macsen Sisam will travel as the fifth player.

New Zealand beat South Korea in Auckland last April to retain their group one Status but will be hard-pressed to beat China, who boast the world's top-ranked junior Wu Yibing.

Hunt says it was an easy squad to pick.

"We've had straight forward conversations with those guys."

Wellington's Finn Tearney was unavailable due to the back injury which forced him out of ASB Classic qualifying last weekend.

"We're keen to continue with the sort of performance that we saw in Auckland against the Koreans. It's a tough task against a strong team but the new format will suit us," Hunt said.

Zonal ties have been reduced to best of three sets from best of five, and are now played over two days with two singles matches on Friday before the doubles and two singles matches on Saturday.

New Fed Cup captain Neil Carter has the services of 19-year-old Jade Lewis for the first time while Erin Routliffe returns for the Asia Oceania group two campaign in Bahrain from February 6-10.

Two teams from the tournament will be promoted to Asia Oceania goup one for2019.           

Carter has also named 24-year-old Katherine Westbury in the side for the first time while Emily Fanning returns from playing college tennis at the University of Kentucky.

Carter is upbeat about his team's chances.

"From 1-4 I have a really strong team that I believe can win the tournament and get promoted. That is the goal," he said.

"Uzbekistan has a strong team and will be favourites, but our players are talented enough to compete against everyone at the tournament."

NZN