While Russia will be the favourites in all four singles rubbers this weekend, Igor Kunitsyn and Victor Baluda would need to spring a major surprise to win tomorrow’s doubles.
The pair are No 439 and No 440 in the world doubles rankings, while their British opponents, Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray, are at 28 and 16 respectively.
Fleming, whose regular partner Ross Hutchins is being treated for cancer, teamed up with Marray, the Wimbledon champion, at the start of this year. Marray, who at 32 is making his Davis Cup debut, resumed his partnership last month with Fleming, who has won all seven of his rubbers since losing against Ukraine four years ago.
Although playing in the Davis Cup can be frustrating for doubles players, who train for a week but play only one match, Fleming always enjoys it. “It’s a real honour to come out and play for your country,” he said. “In the past after Davis Cup weeks my results have generally been quite good. I get a benefit from the week of training not only for the weekend but beyond that.”
In nine 2013 tournaments Fleming has played with six different partners and won two titles, with Bruno Soares in Auckland and with Rohan Bopanna in Marseille. “Although I’ve played with a lot of different partners I’ve known them all and been friends with them,” Fleming said. “That makes a difference when you have to rely on each other at key moments.”
Fleming is a member of Team Aegon, which supports 21 leading British players. “Team Aegon help with travel and subsistence costs, which are very high,” Fleming said. “That’s been vital in terms of helping me to get to where I am now.”
As Lead Partner of British Tennis, life and pensions company Aegon supports the game at all levels, from grass roots through to backing the British Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams. For more information please visit: www.aegontennis.co.uk