sport

Wawrinka set for Davis Cup

Newly-crowned Australian Open champion Stainslas Wawrinka will turn his attentions to the Davis Cup as Switzerland prepare to face Serbia in a first round tie this weekend.

Wawrinka defeated Serbian Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the Melbourne Grand Slam but there will be no chance of a repeat performance in Novi Sad, after Djokovic decided not to take part.

Serbia captain Bogdan Obradovic must therefore field an inexperienced side, with regulars Janko Tipsarevic injured and Viktor Troicki missing out through suspension.

That means the hopes of last year's beaten finalists will rest on youngsters Dusan Lajovic, Filip Krajinovic and Ilija Bozoljac, while veteran Nenad Zimonjic looks set to feature in the doubles.

In contrast, the Swiss will put out a strong side, with Roger Federer competing alongside Wawrinka.

Federer will face Bozoljac on Friday, while Wawrinka takes on Lajovic.

The winners of the tie will play Belgium or Kazakhstan in the quarter-finals in April.

Defending champions Czech Republic will take on the Netherlands and they are boosted by the return of world No 7 Tomas Berdych for the first time since 2009 to leave captain Jaroslav Navratil upbeat over his team's prospects.

Fantastic

"We hope to continue our recent run of results," said Navratil, whose team beat Spain in the 2012 final before defeating Serbia to retain their crown in Belgrade last year.

"Berdych is in great form. He is serving brilliantly and is very strong from the baseline," said Navratil.

Elsewhere, Spain face Germany without world No 1 Rafa Nadal and David Ferrer, while Argentina will be without Martin Del Potro when they take on Italy.

Australia return to the World Group having last competed at that level seven years ago and Lleyton Hewitt is delighted they are back in contention as they prepare to take on France in La Roche sur Yon.

"It's fantastic. For me it's about leading by example on court more than anything, using my experience I've been able to have (after) playing so many years and so many big ties for Australia," he said.

Meanwhile, Milos Raonic has been forced out of Canada's Davis Cup clash with Japan in Tokyo due to an ankle injury.

"This decision was very difficult to make but I believe in the players on our team and that they can get us the win," he said.

"With a team scenario the most important part this week is to come out with a team win and I believe this is the best way to do it."