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Rediff.com  » Sports » Rafter takes Australian Davis Cup reins

Rafter takes Australian Davis Cup reins

October 20, 2010 11:06 IST

Former world number one Pat Rafter has been named Australia's Davis Cup coach and is tasked with leading the once-great tennis nation back to the pinnacle of the sport.

The twice US Open champion replaces John Fitzgerald who stepped down after a decade at the helm.

Rafter will team up with his former coach Tony Roche to try to guide Australia back into the elite 16-nation World Group for the first time since 2007.

"This is something of a dream-team combination," Tennis Australia head of men's tennis Todd Woodbridge said.

Rafter, 37, said he was eager to start working with the team.

"We've got a lot of young players that have a great opportunity to play for Australia," he said.

"My standards and expectations are extremely high. This is a great opportunity to be part of something that means a lot to me," he added.

Australia's most successful Davis Cup player Lleyton Hewitt welcomed the news.

"I'm happy with the appointment of Pat and Rochey. Pat and I get along great and have shared some special moments at the highest level of Davis Cup, and I look forward to working with him," he said.

"And Rochey, I have always said his experience is second to none and he will be a fantastic addition again to the team," he added.

Australia has won 28 Davis Cup trophies, second only to the US with 32, but Rafter's failure to win the team trophy remains a regret in his colourful career.

The serve-volleyer missed Australia's 1999 final triumph over France with a shoulder injury and featured in Australia's losing finals against Spain in Barcelona in 2000 and against France in Melbourne in 2001.

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