Isner will lead US Davis Cup team

John Isner is set to return from a knee injury and will play the No. 1 singles spot for the United States against Brazil in the first round of Davis Cup World Group matches.

Isner injured his knee a month ago at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia while playing with Venus Williams. He withdrew in his opening match the following week at the APIA International Sydney and hasn’t played competitively since.

”We came into the week looking for clarity on John’s knee, hoping it would respond the way it has,” team captain Jim Courier said at Thursday’s draw ceremony. ”He practiced hard every day. He’s had no setbacks.

”From our eyes and our medical staff’s eyes, we feel confident he’s ready and set for 10 sets of tennis if he needs to play them this weekend.”

Isner also reckons he’s ready to return to the courts.

”I had a very encouraging week of practice which is what I was looking for,” the 6-foot-9 Isner said. ”I didn’t know how my knee was going to react when I really started to practice hard because it’s been a while.

”My knee hasn’t been bothering me. I feel like I’m ready to go.”

Isner’s presence in the lineup is key to the Americans’ hopes of beating Brazil and advancing to the quarterfinals in April against the winner of the Serbia-Belgium. Isner is the 13th-ranked player in the world, the best ranking of any of the four singles players competing in Friday’s opening match.

He will meet Brazil’s Thiago Alves, ranked No. 145 in the second singles match on Friday. The opening match pits the United States’ Sam Querrey (No. 22) taking on Brazil’s top player, Thomaz Bellucci (No. 33). It’s the first meeting for the players in both matches.

The doubles competition takes place on Saturday with the world’s No. 1 ranked team of Bob and Mike Bryan taking on the Brazilian pair of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares who have a 17 and 19 doubles ranking respectively.