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Moroccan test for Davis Cup team

El Aynaoui will be lying in wait for Federer and co Keystone Archive

Switzerland's tennis stars will have to win a difficult Davis Cup tie in Morocco this September if they are to remain in the competition's World Group.

This content was published on April 10, 2002 - 17:26

After narrowly losing 2-3 away to Russia in this year's opening round, the Swiss now have to come through the autumn qualifying round to maintain top division status. That won't be easy, though, against a Moroccan team which can call on two top 30 players in Younes El Aynaoui (ATP 20) and Hicham Arazi (ATP 25).

"Morocco are probably the toughest opponents that we could have been drawn against," reckoned Swiss Davis Cup coach Peter Carter on Wednesday following the draw in London.

Seeded

As one of the seeded teams, Switzerland could also have come up against the weaker ranked sides of India or Thailand.

Switzerland are at least likely to boast the highest ranked player when the two sides meet, with Swiss number one Roger Federer currently ranked 11th in the world. History would also appear to be on Switzerland's side with Morocco having lost both their previous ties against the Swiss 5-0.

However the scoreline from the two sides' last meeting in 1996 is deceptive, since El Aynaoui, Arazi and Karim Alami were in conflict with their national federation at the time - depriving Morocco of their three best players.

This time around the Moroccans should be at full strength and equally keen to hold onto their own World Group status after also losing narrowly (2-3 away to Spain) in their first round tie.

Davis Cup World Group qualifying round draw:

Morocco v Switzerland
Australia v India
Zimbabwe v Belgium
Brazil v Canada
Germany v Venezuela
Britain v Thailand
Finland v Holland
Slovakia v Romania

Ties to be played September 20-22, winners go through to World Group

swissinfo with agencies

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