As expected, no Sorensen for DC...
TENNIS NEWS ROUND-UP: A WEAKENED Davis Cup team will face Luxembourg in Dublin next month in the first round of the 2011 competition, which is moving this season from its traditional base at Fitzwilliam to the David Lloyd Centre at Riverview. Davis Cup has been played in the venerable Fitzwilliam for the past eight years.
Tennis Ireland in conjunction with Riverview are installing four new courts of slow paced acrylic for the competition, the same surface that is in the National Training Centre and one the Irish players are used to playing on.
The match has also been moved because of the possibility that Ireland will meet Britain in the second round. An interesting aspect of the draw is that Britain is also in Ireland’s Europe-Africa zone Group Two.
They meet Tunisia in their opening match on the same side of the draw.
If both Britain and Ireland lose their opening games, they move back towards relegation and play each other in the second round or if they both win they move forwards towards promotion and face each other in a match that is scheduled as a home fixture for Ireland.
In that light Fitzwilliam holds between 1,000-1,200 spectators while Riverview can cater for around 2,000 and the possibility of Britain arriving with the world number five Andy Murray in the team would generate significantly higher interest. Murray, however, did not schedule in Davis Cup last year but has not entirely ruled it in or out.
Once again Louk Sorensen, who became the first Irish player since the 1980s to qualify for the main draw of a Grand Slam at the Australian Open last year, is not in the team due to injury, which was reportedly a similar ailment to that which Irish second row Paul O’Connell suffered from, an infection of the pubis bone.
Sorensen is now back hitting but is not yet at the level to compete. He has been struggling with the injury almost consistently since after his Australian run to the second round in 2010.
Barry King, who featured last year against Turkey and Lithuania, fails to make the team with Irish number one, Conor Niland joined by James Magee, James Cluskey and Colin O’Brien. Niland is an occasional hitting partner with Murray and at 131 in the world he is the highest ranked player in these islands after the Scot. The match takes place from March 4th-6th.