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US, France without key players for Davis Cup
Both teams were rocked by withdrawals to key players this week.
The ninth-ranked Fish pulled out because of fatigue and was replaced by 66th-ranked Ryan Harrison. Meanwhile, Forget is without the 14th-ranked Gael Monfils, a former French Open semifinalist, because of an abdominal injury.
“I think these last-minute withdrawals are more harmful for them than for us,” Forget said. “The American captain doesn’t have a choice in singles. He can’t choose one of the Bryan brothers. So Harrison will play on Friday.
“I thought Jim Courier might have called up Sam Querrey or even Andy Roddick. Harrison is a player for the future. We don’t really know his true potential.”
Courier, who won French Open titles in 1991-92, was tightlipped about why he chose the 19-year-old Harrison for the clay-court matchup at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
“A lot factors in the choice,” Courier said. “Ryan was the best man for the job. That’s why he’s here.”
Harrison faces a tall order against sixth-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“Obviously, Jo is a great player,” Harrison said. “I’m just excited for the opportunity.”
Forget said he picked Gilles Simon to replace Monfils because Richard Gasquet has an elbow injury.
Only the Bryans, and Michael Llodra _ who played alongside Arnaud Clement against the Bryans in 2008 _ remain from those teams. The 31-year-old Llodra also played doubles in the 2002 semifinal, which France won 3-2.
“We’ve played Llodra for Grand Slam titles, we played him in the bronze medal match (at the 2008 Olympics),” Mike Bryan said. “We have probably played him at least 20 times. He’s beaten us a bunch. We’ve beaten him a bunch.”
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