Japan’s star man, Kei Nishikori, has been named into their opening Davis Cup tie against Great Britain. Captain Minoru Ueda is hoping to avoid another World Group loss, which would force them to play in the playoff once again. The side that Ueda has named includes Taro Daniel, Yoshihito Nishioka, and Yasutaka Uchiyama.
Tough Ask in The World Group
Japan drew defending champions Great Britain in the opening round of the Davis Cup. Britain, who ended their 79-year drought by winning the title last year, host the tie on indoor hard court in Birmingham.
Last year, Japan and Britain found themselves on the opposite end of the Davis Cup spectrum. While Andy Murray mounted the Great Britain charge for the title, Nishikori’s squad limped out in the World Group stage. Japan faced a very strong Canada squad, which included the Big Three of Milos Raonic, Vasek Pospisil, and Daniel Nestor, The key doubles rubber was taken by the Canadians as they picked up the 3-2 win, knocking down Japan to the World Group Playoff.
Japan managed to survive their World Group PLayoff tie against Colombia, coming from 1-2 down to win. Daniel won the decisive fifth rubber in straight sets over Alejandro Falla.
Who Plays The Second Singles Rubber?
While Nishikori is a clear-cut choice for two of the four singles rubbers, barring the tie getting out of hand and forcing a dead rubber, the choice for who plays on the first singles day of Davis Cup rubbers will be tricky for Ueda to make the call.
Taro Daniel, an American-born Japanese, has been playing the singles rubbers along with Nishikori while Uchiyama has been playing the doubles rubber. However, Nishioka is a rising star on the ATP World Tour. Will Ueda give him a chance to shine or will he give Daniel the nod once again, given the fact they play the defending champs.