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
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
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.