Australia and Japan to play on clay in May

Australia will play its Asia-Oceania Group 1 Davis Cup match

against Japan on a clay court in the Pat Rafter Arena at Brisbane’s

Queensland Tennis Center in May, Tennis Australia said Monday.

The winner of the May 7-9 match will advance to the World Group

playoffs in September.

“We have just come off a good win against (Taiwan) and are

really looking forward to this,” Australian Davis Cup captain John

Fitzgerald said.

“The guys are very keen to play on clay. Peter Luczak, Bernard

Tomic, Carsten Ball and Paul Hanley were all in good form and

hopefully Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione will also be back from

injury, which would give us some great options.”

Former No. 1-ranked Hewitt injured his hip at the Australian

Open in January and missed the subsequent Davis Cup match.

Australia, which has won the Davis Cup 28 times, usually hosts

its home matches on hard courts or grass, but had a 4-1 win over

Britain in Sydney when it chose a clay surface in the first round

in 2003, the last year it won the title.

Australia last met Japan in an Asia-Oceania Group 1 semifinal in

1996, winning 4-1. It leads Japan 14-2 in Davis Cup head-to-heads

and has won their last six encounters.

Australia beat Taiwan 5-0 in its Asia Oceania Group 1

first-round match, while Japan beat the Philippines 5-0 in

Osaka.