Draper replaces former Grand Slam finalist
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 his ranking."
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.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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