Argentina face hard task against Germany without Del Potro

Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:04pm IST

Jeremy Chardy of France hits a return to Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina during their men's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 19, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Jeremy Chardy of France hits a return to Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina during their men's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

REUTERS - Argentina face Germany in the Davis Cup first round this weekend on shakier ground at home than when they beat their opponents 4-1 away at the same stage last year.

World number seven Juan Martin del Potro is not playing the Davis Cup at all this year having decided he wants to concentrate fully on trying to break into the world's top four.

This has gone down badly with many of his compatriots, who criticise his lack of commitment to a national cause to bring the famous salad bowl trophy home for the first time after losing four finals, three since 2006.

However, Argentina beat Germany last year without 2009 US Open champion Del Potro who only came into the team at the quarter-final stage.

"Being at home is very important, we must not lose sight of that," captain Martin Jaite said as a rallying cry to his team in the build-up to the tie.

What Argentina lack on their favoured clay court at Parque Roca is a fully fit Juan Monaco and David Nalbandian.

Monaco, ranked 12 and drawn on Thursday to meet Florian Mayer in the second singles, has been troubled by a wrist problem and also picked up a thigh muscle tear at the Australian Open.

Nalbandian helped Argentina win last year's tie 3-0 on the second day after winning his opening singles match and then the doubles with Eduardo Schwank.

The veteran campaigner, however, has been out of action for six months through injury and is only playing the doubles with Horacio Zeballos in the absence of Schwank, who is recovering from wrist surgery.

Carlos Berlocq will open the tie against world number 19 Phillip Kohlschreiber having made his Davis Cup debut in last year's semi-final at home to the Czech Republic.

Berlocq stood in for the injured Del Potro in the decisive last singles and lost to Tomas Berdych.

In head-to-head meetings, Monaco is 5-1 down to Mayer and Berlocq 3-1 down to Kohlschreiber.

(Writing by Rex Gowar in London; editing by Toby Davis)

Reuters Showcase

India Cricket Chief

India Cricket Chief

Former ICC boss Dalmiya returns as BCCI chief.  Full Article 

S&P on Budget

S&P on Budget

Budget shows commitment to keep fiscal deficit low - S&P.  Full Article 

Richie Rich

Richie Rich

Bill Gates tops Forbes rich list, Michael Jordan joins.  Full Article 

Mega Buy

Mega Buy

HP to buy Wi-Fi gear maker Aruba Networks for $2.7 bln.  Full Article 

Blogger's Murder

Blogger's Murder

Bangladesh says arrests main suspect in U.S. blogger Avijit Roy's killing.  Full Article 

Alleged Threats

Alleged Threats

Twitter, law enforcement investigate alleged Islamic State threats.  Full Article 

New Tour

New Tour

Pop icon Madonna announces dates for 'Rebel Heart' tour.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage