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US Hosts Spain in Davis Cup Tennis

The United States hosts Spain next month in a quarterfinal match that is a rematch of the 2004 Davis Cup finals won by Spain. VOA's Jim Stevenson reports the clash will feature a big crowd and several of the world's top players.

U.S. Davis Cup tennis captain Patrick McEnroe has selected Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake to face Spain on an indoor hardcourt in the Davis Cup quarterfinals, which will be played April 6-8 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

As many as four of the top eight players in the world rankings will be in action. World No. 2 Rafael Nadal could be joined by sixth-ranked Tommy Robredo or No. 14 David Ferrer. Roddick is currently third in the world and Blake is ranked eighth.

McEnroe says that sets up an exceptional series. "This has got some extra juice to it in that we are playing a team that has a got great tradition now in Spain. And certainly in the last 10 years it has been one of the dominant countries in men's tennis. And you throw that into the fact that we were in Spain for the final a few years ago," he said.

Also playing will be the world's top-ranked doubles team of brothers Bob and Mike Bryan. McEnroe said Mardy Fish will serve as an emergency backup, and 17-year-old Donald Young will be a practice partner.

All 14,453 tickets have been sold for the match at Joel Coliseum on the campus of Wake Forest University. McEnroe compares that turnout to the four major tennis tournaments. "You get to 14,500 (spectators), then you are talking about the same kind of numbers you get at every tournament in the world except for the U.S. Open. That is about the number of people you get at the Australian Open, at Wimbledon and at the French (Open). So that is huge."

The United States has won a record 31 Davis Cup titles, but none since 1995. Either the United States or Spain will face Sweden or Argentina in the semifinals in September.