Rusedski ready for British team to face Morocco

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The Independent Online

Greg Rusedski has confirmed that he is fit and able to join Tim Henman, so Britain can count on their full resources for the Davis Cup qualifying round tie against Morocco in Casablanca from 19 to 21 September.

The challenge facing them will be three-fold: the skill and exuberance of their opponents, Younes El Aynaoui and Hicham Arazi; the partisan spectators; and the disadvantage of playing a slow clay court.

El Aynaoui, the world No 21, said at the United States Open here the other day that he did not expect the court to be too slow, because it would not suit his game. To which the 65th-ranked Arazi smiled and responded: "Maybe they will put down less clay for Younes and more clay for me."

Having lost to Australia, 4-1, in the first round of the World Group without the services of the injured Henman and Rusedski on a clay court in Sydney in February, Britain hope both men will overcome the disappointment of first-round defeats at the US Open.

Arvind Parmar, Alex Bogdanovic and Miles Maclagan are also included in a squad that is due to leave for Casablanca next Wednesday to prepare for the tie, which will result in the losers being relegated to the Euro/African Zone.

"I'm delighted to announce a full-strength squad," said Roger Taylor, Britain's captain, who has omitted the Scot Alan Mackin from the squad that went to Australia and retained Parmar, who is best remembered for being unable to secure the deciding rubber when Britain lost to Ecuador on Court One at Wimbledon in 2000.

"I have confidence in Arvind," Taylor said. "He's improved his attitude, which is very important. Arvind did have a bad experience in his first Davis Cup match, but I think he's got over that. He won his first ATP Challenger tournament in Denver recently and won two rounds in the United States Open qualifying, against Dick Norman and Jack Brassington.

"We have three possible singles players in Tim, Greg and Alex, but you need doubles back-up and we need competitiveness in the practice sessions as well. Nothing is set in stone." The rules allow for captains to wait until the day of the tie before finalising their team.

* The Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis and the former world No 1 Lleyton Hewitt will team up for Australia in their Davis Cup semi-final against Switzerland later this month. The two were named yesterday as Australia's singles players in a powerful four-man squad to meet the Swiss in Melbourne on 19 to 21 September. Doubles specialists Todd Woodbridge and Wayne Arthurs were also included as Australia stuck with the same line-up that crushed Sweden 5-0 in the quarter-finals. The Wimbledon champion, Roger Federer, will lead the Swiss challenge.

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