Opening Davis Cup round set

Dec. 17, 2001 at 11:14 AM
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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The United States will stage its first-round Davis Cup duel with Slovakia at the Myriad Center in Oklahoma City Feb.8-10, the USTA announced Monday.

Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick are possible participants when the Americans begin their quest to claim their first Davis Cup since 1995. They are expected to face a Slovakian team that will include Dominik Hrbaty and Karol Kucera.

The USTA will lay down an indoor hard court at the Myriad Center, which will be reconfigured to seat 5,500 fans for the best-of-five match series. It is the first time Oklahoma will

host a Davis Cup tie.

"Davis Cup is unlike any tennis event in the world with its passion, electricity and patriotism," Arlen Kantarian, USTA chief executive of professional tennis, said. "The current group of U.S. Davis Cup players is a mix of legendary veterans and young stars who will put on an exciting show in Oklahoma City in February."

Sampras, who has played in Davis Cup sparingly since the Americans lost to Sweden in the 1997 final, told U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe that he is available for action in 2002.

Roddick, the 18-year-old who won three tournaments this past season, should be the team's anchor. Other candidates for next year's team are Jan-Michael Gambill, James Blake and veteran

Todd Martin. The four-man squad will be announced by Jan. 29.

"I'm confident that with our mix of veterans and enthusiastic young players that the United States can win the Davis Cup in 2002," McEnroe said. "The Slovakian team is a very talented and dangerous first-round opponent with players capable of beating any player in any situations. We're definitely looking forward to a competitive and high-spirited match on our home turn in

Oklahoma City."

The U.S. fell to Switzerland in the first round in the 2001 Davis Cup -- McEnroe's first as captain. The Americans were forced to qualify for the World Group with a win over India this fall.

The Americans are facing Slovakia for the first time since 1994.

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