Nishikori and Gasquet miss Davis Cup action
Originally published on 03/04/14
French No.1 Gasquet has a lower back injury, but captain Arnaud Clement still has world No.12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and world No.25 Gael Monfils for the last-eight clash against Germany in Nancy.
Meanwhile, Tatsuma Ito has been named as Japanese No.1 in the absence of Nishikori and Go Soeda as Japan bid to reach the Davis Cup semi-finals for the first time in their history. World No.18 Nishikori was forced to withdraw from his Sony Open semi-final against Novak Djokovic last week after injuring his groin during his quarter-final win over Roger Federer in Miami.
“I’m so disappointed. I want to play but it’s still hurting and I haven’t played tennis yet so I can’t play here,” he said. “It’s a really tough moment for me. It’s our first quarter-final and I think we had a chance to win this tie.”
Japan take on defending champions Czech Republic at the Ariake Coliseum, where Radek Stepanek is the Czech No.1, with world No.5 Tomas Berdych opting not to travel to Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray returns to action following his defeat to Djokovic in Miami last week as he leads Great Britain’s bid to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1981. Murray, James Ward, Dan Evans and Colin Fleming take on Italy in Naples – the first meeting between the two teams since 1984. Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi will be looking to see the hosts into the last four for the first time since 1998, when Italy lost to Sweden in the final.
The winner of that tie will likely meet Switzerland in the semi-finals, with the hosts boasting two Top 4 players for their clash against Kazakhstan in Geneva. Federer, appears to have made the Davis Cup a priority this year, having played in Switzerland’s win over Serbia in February, only the second time he had played a first-round tie since 2004.
“There is one goal that I have since many years. It's the Davis Cup,” Swiss No.1 Stanislas Wawrinka said. “Now Roger is playing, so we know that we are a strong team to do something. We’ll need to be careful, but we have a good chance to make a big result this year, and that's so far the most important goal.”