Mancini primes big guns
ARGENTINE captain Alberto Mancini yesterday tipped the return of claycourt guns Gaston Gaudio and Guillermo Coria for September's Davis Cup semi-final against Australia.
Mancini's declaration came as Lleyton Hewitt confirmed he would contest only three European claycourt events this year.
Hewitt will not resume competition until the Hamburg Masters on May 15 before venturing to Portschach in Austria ahead of the May 28-June 11 French Open in Paris.
Ranked 12th in the world, Hewitt missed the claycourt season last year because of rib and foot injuries.
He will not make a decision on whether to play the Davis Cup semi-final until later in the season.
Australian captain John Fitzgerald is optimistic Hewitt will head the team for the September 22-24 tie in Buenos Aires, but security issues are paramount in Hewitt's considerations for what looms as a hostile engagement.
Hewitt has entered the Thai Open in Bangkok from September 25, a day after the tie.
Mancini, a central figure in an ugly post-match Australian Open locker-room confrontation last year between Hewitt and Juan Ignacio Chela, believes Hewitt will play in Buenos Aires.
Having guided Argentina to a 3-2 victory over Croatia in Zagreb this week, Mancini yesterday turned his attention to French Open winner Gaudio and Roland Garros finalist Coria.
"Now is not the time to decide who will play in September," he said. "The important thing is that all players are fit, including Gaston and Guillermo.
"Near the time, we will see who is better."