ATP Tour

France ready to show hand

Gael Monfils (AFP)
Gael Monfils (AFP)

Bordeaux - France captain Arnaud Clement will announce his provisional five-man team on Tuesday for the Davis Cup final against Switzerland from November 21-23 in Lille.

The French are currently taking part in a preparation camp in Bordeaux with few surprises expected when Clement confirms his initial line-up.

French number one Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is odds-on to lead the team with Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon and doubles specialist Julien Benneteau expected to make up the quintet.

Clement must then decide to drop one player from his original selection, at least an hour before the draw, which will take place on the eve of the final.

The Swiss, who are captained by Severin Luthi, have already announced their four players with few eyebrows raised at the inclusion of world number two Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, currently world number four, with Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer adding support.

Both Federer and Wawrinka, currently taking part in the ATP World Tour Finals, are guaranteed to play the singles' rubbers and also likely to team up for the Saturday doubles' match.

Chiudinelli, world number 194, and Lammer, 512 in the rankings, did play in Switzerland's first round victory before Federer and Wawrinka took over the doubles' role for the quarter and semi-finals.

A capacity crowd of some 27 000 supporters are expected at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in the north of the country where an indoor clay-court will provide the surface.

Simon is the player likely to be dropped by Clement despite a strong finale to his season that featured a semi-final showing in Tokyo and a run to the Shanghai Masters final where he was beaten by Federer.

Ranked 21st in the world, Simon has not played for France since 2013 and has won just four matches in 12 outings at Davis Cup level.

France have won the Davis Cup nine times, most recently in 2001, but also reached the 2010 final where they were beaten 3-2 by a Serbia side led by world number one Novak Djokovic in Belgrade.

Switzerland have never lifted the famous trophy and came closest to victory in 1992 when they were beaten 3-1 in the final by the United States.

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