SYDNEY, Australia -- Former Wimbledon and U.S. Open finalist
Mark Philippoussis was left off Australia's team for next month's
Davis Cup match against Austria in favor of journeyman tennis
player and golfer Scott Draper on Tuesday.
Draper, who recently earned his card to play on the Australasian
golf tour, said he'll have no problem returning his focus to tennis
for the match in Sydney on March 4-6. He could play in the second
singles spot behind second-ranked Lleyton Hewitt, the runner-up at
the Australian Open.
Doubles specialist Todd Woodbridge and Wayne Arthurs were also
named to Australia's four-man team.
Philippoussis was plagued by injuries in 2004, when his ranking
slipped from ninth to No. 106. He missed the Australian Open last
month after pulling out of the Hopman Cup with a groin strain.
Philippoussis was expected to return to competition this week.
Philippoussis "wants to be part of the Davis Cup, but form and
fitness are a concern and he just needs tennis," Australian coach
Wally Masur said. "We will welcome him back with open arms, but at
the moment it's a case of him working on his fitness and improving
Masur said he had no concerns about Draper's fitness, despite
the 30-year-old playing mostly golf since winning the mixed doubles
title at the Australian Open last month.
"He's the right man for the job," Masur said.
Draper had a win and a loss in Davis Cup matches in 2003.
Draper missed the cut at his two most recent golf tournaments,
the New Zealand Open and the Jacobs Creek Open and will skip two
tournaments to prepare for the Davis Cup.