Roddick, Blake named to U.S. Davis Cup team

Updated: January 31, 2006, 5:17 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- James Blake will fill the No. 2 singles slot behind Andy Roddick for the U.S. Davis Cup team against Romania next month, but Andre Agassi could join the team later this year.

The regular doubles duo of twins Bob and Mike Bryan also will face Romania in the first round on Feb. 10-12 in La Jolla, Calif., U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe said Tuesday.

"All the guys feel like this could be the year," McEnroe said, referring to the fact that the United States hasn't won the Davis Cup since 1995. "We have a chance to go deep into the event and as good a chance as anybody to win it."

That doesn't mean he's taking the opening matches against Romania for granted.

And he does have reason to be concerned.

Last year, an American team of Agassi, Roddick and the Bryan brothers was eliminated in the first round by eventual champion Croatia. The United States has won the Davis Cup 31 times.

Roddick and the Bryans were obvious choices for the matches against Romania, with McEnroe opting to go with Blake over Robby Ginepri.

Blake lost to Spain's Tommy Robredo in the third round of the Australian Open, and Ginepri was defeated in by Germany's Denis Gremelmayr in the second round.

Noting that Blake earlier won the Sydney tournament, McEnroe said of selecting him over Ginepri, "They're so close, it's almost like you go to the hotter hand."

Blake is No. 20 in the world this week, his highest ranking. Ginepri is No. 16. Roddick remained at No. 3 despite his fourth-round loss to Marcos Baghdatis in the Australian Open.

Although American men didn't fare well in singles in that tournament, the Bryans won the doubles championship.

All the players on this team are experienced in Davis Cup competition.

The 23-year-old Roddick has a 17-6 record since first playing for the United States in 2001. Blake, 26, is 6-3 in singles and 3-1 in doubles. The Bryans are 6-1, with their only defeat coming last year against Croatia.

Romanian captain Florin Segarseanu selected 40th-ranked Victor Hanescu, No. 82 Andrei Pavel and two players out of the top 100: Razvan Sabau and Horia Tecau.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press