sport

Federer to open Swiss bid

Roger Federer will open Switzerland's Davis Cup bid on Friday when he takes on Serbia's Ilija Bozoljac in Novi Sad.

Federer, who has never won the famous team competition, was a surprise inclusion in the Swiss side having initially having opted out of the World Group first-round tie.

However, on Wednesday he was called into the line-up and at Thursday's draw he was paired against Bozoljac.

Newly-crowed Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka will follow Federer onto court to take on Dusan Lajovic.

Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer have been nominated by the Swiss for Saturday's doubles although it would be no surprise to see Federer and Wawrinka team up given they won Olympic gold as a partnership in 2008.

The hosts are without their leading players with Novak Djokovic opting not to play, Janko Tipsarevic still injured and Viktor Troicki serving a drugs ban. Hence last year's runners-up are hot favourites to fall at the first hurdle this time around.

Canada's hopes of a repeat run to the semi-finals suffered a dent with Milos Raonic withdrawing from their tie in Japan with a foot injury.

With Vasek Pospisil also struggling with injury, he is only nominated for the doubles so Peter Polansky will take on Kei Nishikori on Friday with Frank Dancevic then facing Go Soeda.

Germany have picked Philipp Kohlschreiber and the in-form Florian Mayer to play singles against a Spain side shorn of Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer. They will take on Roberto Bautsita Agut, making his Davis Cup debut, and Feliciano Lopez respectively.

Tommy Haas is only chosen for the doubles for the Germans.

France will go with Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as their singles men against Australia.

In the absence of the injured Bernard Tomic, the Aussies choose youngster Nick Kyrgios to face Gasquet on the opening day. Tsonga will meet Lleyton Hewitt on the clay of La Roche sur Yon.

Julien Benneteau and Gael Monfils are due to play Hewitt and Chris Guccione in the doubles.

Holders Czech Republic will begin their defence with Radek Stepanek taking on Dutchman Robin Haase. Tomas Berdych will then meet Igor Sijsling.

Argetina face Italy in Mar del Plata in what looks a closely-contested tie.

Carlos Berlocq will play Andreas Seppi in the first rubber with Juan Monaco then taking on Fabio Fognini.

The other first-round ties see Kazakhstan entertain Belgium and the USA take on Great Britain.

All the ties get under way with two singles on Friday. The doubles follows on Saturday with the reverse singles on Sunday.

The winners will progress to April's quarter-finals with the losers facing a relegation play-off in September.