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US Hosts Croatia in Davis Cup Match

  • Steve Schy

Veteran tennis star Andre Agassi will play for the United States Davis Cup team for the first time in five years Friday, as the Americans host Croatia in a first round World Group Match in suburban Los Angeles, California. The 34-year-old Agassi has a 30-5 record playing in Davis Cup singles matches.

Andre Agassi and former U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick will lead the United States against Croatia in the three-day competition. Agassi and Roddick are scheduled to play singles, while brothers Bob and Mike Bryan are set to play doubles.

Croatia beat the Americans in the first round two years ago and has chosen Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic to lead its team. Former U.S. Davis Cup captain John McEnroe, who is now a tennis analyst, says with Agassi back, the U.S is favored but it should be an interesting matchup.

"Andre is one of the legends and [one of] the greatest players that ever played and Roddick is one of the best players in the world, and they have got the number-one doubles team, so on paper obviously they should win," he said. "But it is also a highly competitive match potentially, because Ljubicic is one of the hottest players out there this year. I think he has been in four finals now this year already. And Ancic is someone who got to the semis at Wimbledon and just last week got to the finals of a tournament - very dangerous. This is certainly not 'a gimmee' by any means."

The U.S. team has won the Davis Cup a record 31 times, but is in the middle of its longest-ever championship drought. The last time the Americans won the trophy was in 1995.

In other first round matches getting under way Friday, defending champion Spain visits Bratislava to take on Slovakia, Switzerland hosts the Netherlands, Australian Open champion Marat Safin of Russia leads his nation against Chile in Moscow, nine-time champion France takes on seven-time winner Sweden and Belarus visits Romania in Brasov.

The winners of this weekend's best-of-five match series meet in the quarterfinals in July. The Davis Cup final is in December.

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