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John McEnroe to face Switzerland?

McEnroe has spent the last eight years playing on the senior tour Keystone Archive

Eight years after retiring from the ATP Tour, John McEnroe looks set to make a dramatic return to the United States Davis Cup team in time for February's first round tie against Switzerland.

The 41-year-old seven-times grand slam singles champion is in line for a call-up by his brother Patrick McEnroe, who now captains the US side.

“For the Switzerland tie I will need three singles players and a doubles expert, who could well be my brother,” Patrick said on Tuesday. “The possibility of him playing is very serious.”

The younger McEnroe, who took over the captaincy of the Davis Cup team from John last November, said that he was also considering Justin Gimelstob.

But while the 23-year-old Gimelstob clearly has youth on his side, his Davis Cup experience has been far from convincing. Currently ranked 85th in the world, Gimelstob has not been selected for the US team since losing a doubles match against Italy in 1998.

Patrick McEnroe has been forced to look further afield than normal for his players, following the withdrawals of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi from the team.

Agassi, who has criticised the incompatibility of the Davis Cup schedule with that of the ATP Tour, did at least lend Patrick McEnroe some support at the weekend when asked about the chances of a John McEnroe comeback.

“From what I’ve seen of him, he is still capable,” Agassi insisted on Sunday. “I’ve seen him in practice with a lot of the doubles guys and he is still one of the best on the court.

“Whether he can do it (in a best of five sets match) I don’t know. I’d like to see him try – I think he would have a heck of a shot.”

Having lost the crowd-pulling names of Agassi, Sampras and Switzerland’s Marc Rosset, the organisers of February’s clash in Basel will no doubt share Agassi’s wish. Patrick McEnroe intends to finally name his squad at the start of next week.

swissinfo with agencies

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