Great Britain’s Davis Cup team face their biggest test of recent years as they take on a highly-experienced Russian team this weekend.
Captain Leon Smith leads the GB side out for their Euro/Africa Zone Group I second round tie at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, with a place in the top tier World Group play-offs at stake.
As no UK broadcaster has picked up the rights to screen the tie, fans can watch live coverage of all three days online via the LTA website.
WATCH LIVE via LTA website – CLICK HERE
This encounter against the Russians is arguably Great Britain’s most important tie in four years, ever since they were relegated to Group II by Poland in a home tie at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in 2009.
Following an embarassing defeat at the hands of the lowly Lithuania in early 2010 the team has slowly built its way back up the rankings having won four out its the last five ties, with most of its successes coming despite the absence of star player Andy Murray.
The now-world ranked number two will again be absent for Great Britain’s latest tie, as he has chosen to concentrate on his preparations for the clay-court season following last weekend’s victory at the Miami Masters.
Despite Murray’s high-profile absence, Leon Smith will be banking on the home crowd support to inspire his team.
The doubles combination is the strongest element of Smith’s line-up with Colin Fleming, who has had a great start to 2013 winning ATP titles in both Auckland and Marseille, partnering 2012 Wimbledon men’s doubles champion Jonny Marray.
While every male player on the team sheet for Britain is ranked outside of the top 200 – compared to their opponents who have four in the top 100 – Smith has chosen Dan Evans and James Ward for the singles rubbers.
Evans (world no. 325) received a late call-up to the team after the late withdrawal of Jamie Baker, while Ward (world no. 216) has played in six of the last seven ties for his country.
Russia won the Davis Cup in 2002 and 2006 and were only recently been relegated to the Euro/Africa Zone Group I.
They return to zonal action for the first time in 20 years after suffering their heaviest defeat for a decade at the hands of Brazil in the World Group play-offs.
They had earlier lost to Austria in the first round and will now look to make an immediate return but have to win away from home – something they have not achieved since 2009.
World number 76 Dmitry Tursunov leads the Russian line-up alongside world no. 80 Evgeny Donskoy.
Great Britain and Russia have played against each other only once previously with the home nation emerging victorious (4-1) at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, in 1963.
The winners of their 2013 encounter will be drawn on April 10 to compete in the 16-nation World Group Play-offs from September 13-15.
You can watch all five matches over the weekend live online via the LTA website at www.lta.org.uk, with commentary provided by Guy McCrea and Jeremy Bates.
Streaming of the GB’s Davis Cup tie is delivered by the LTA in association with Yo Space.
No UK broadcaster has decided to claim the rights to screen the Russia tie.
British Eurosport has shown Great Britain’s most recent ties having picked up the rights from the BBC, who decided against continuing its Davis Cup coverage at the end of 2009.
British Eurosport will though cover the World Group quarter-final clash between the United States and Serbia on its channels over the same weekend.
The two countries have met just once before, in Belgrade in 2010, and it was the hosts who prevailed on that occasion.
USA, who last won the Davis Cup in 2007, will be looking to avenge that defeat and reach the semi-finals for the second year running.
World number one Novak Djokovic will lead the Serbia line-up, while Jim Courier’s US team includes the mighty Bryan brothers.
GREAT BRITAIN v RUSSIA WATCH LIVE TIE DETAILS Friday 5th April Day 1 – Singles x2 | Start Time: 2.00pm Dan Evans (GBR) v Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) James Ward (GBR) v Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) LIVE: 2.00pm-7.00pm – LTA Website Saturday 6th April Day 2 – Doubles | Start Time: 1.00pm Fleming/Marray (GBR) v Baluda/Kunitsyn (RUS) LIVE: 1.00pm-4.00pm – LTA Website Sunday 7th April Day 3 – Reverse Singles x2 | Start Time: 1.00pm James Ward (GBR) v Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) Dan Evans (GBR) v Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) LIVE: 1.00pm-6.00pm – LTA Website . . UNITED STATES v SERBIA TIE DETAILS
Friday 5th April Day 1 – Singles x2 | Start Time: 8.30pm John Isner (USA) v Novak Djokovic (SRB) Sam Querrey (USA) v Viktor Troicki (SRB) LIVE: 8.30pm-12.30am – British Eurosport Saturday 6th April Day 2 – Doubles | Start Time: 8.00pm B. Bryan/M. Bryan (USA) v Bozoljac/Zimonjic (SRB) LIVE: 8.00pm-11.00pm – British Eurosport 2 Sunday 7th April Day 3 – Reverse Singles x2 | Start Time: 7.00pm Sam Querrey (USA) v Novak Djokovic (SRB) John Isner (USA) v Viktor Troicki (SRB) LIVE: 8.00pm-11.00pm – British Eurosport . .