Court in top shape for Australia-Japan Davis Cup tie

SYDNEY: The purpose-built clay court for the Australia-Japan Davis Cup tie in Brisbane will be in top condition for next month''s clash, construction company officials said on Sunday.

Australia, boosted by the availability of former world number one Lleyton Hewitt, have elected to take on Japan on clay rather than on hardcourt for their Asia/Oceania zone second round tie.

Tennis Australia said the transformation to a classic red clay court is almost complete at Pat Rafter Arena, venue for the May 7-9 tie.

"It (the venue) is perfect for clay court construction here as the direct sunlight is not drawing the moisture from the ash, it comes out of the ash evenly into the clay," court builder Brett White said.

"This is one of the best jobs I have done."

He said the conversion process had gone well and the court was expected to be ready for play by Thursday.

The Australian team will be announced on Tuesday, Tennis Australia said.

Claycourter Peter Luczak, big serving left-handers Carsten Ball and Chris Guccione as well as youngster Bernard Tomic are also in contention along with doubles specialist Paul Hanley.

Australia last met Japan in 1996, winning 4-1 and lead Japan 14-2 in Davis Cup, having won their past six encounters.

The winner of the Brisbane tie advances to the World Group playoffs in September.