MADRID, Spain – Texas A&M men’s tennis All-American Austin Krajicek will serve as a practice player for the U.S. Davis Cup team as it prepares for this weekend’s semifinal tie with Spain. The Americans are the defending Davis Cup champions.
A 6-foot-1 sophomore lefthander from Brandon, Fla., Krajicek is gaining valuable time with the world’s best players on an international stage. The American squad is comprised of World No. 8 Andy Roddick, World No. 39 Sam Querry (who replaced World No. 10 James Blake), World No. 23 Mardy Fish (who replaced Bob Bryan) and World No. 1 doubles player Mike Bryan. The U.S. will prepare for a showdown with Spain’s lefty-dominated lineup that is headlined by World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
The U.S. Davis Cup team will face off against Spain on Sept. 19-21 at the Plaza de Toros Las Ventas in Madrid. Argentina and Russia battle in the other semifinal in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The invitation extended by U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe continues a busy summer for Krajicek that has already seen him win the USTA Boys 18’s National Championship title in Kalamazoo, Mich., and compete in the U.S. Open men’s main draw as the field’s youngest player at age 18 and lone collegian.
“It is a great honor for Austin to be chosen to participate with the Davis Cup team in Spain,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “It speaks volumes about his accomplishments this past year, especially becoming an All-American as a freshman and his great win at Kalmazoo this summer at the Boys 18’s National Championships. His recent success is a beacon of light for college tennis as a valid pathway to the pros.”
Denton said the week of training with McEnroe and the U.S. Davis Cup squad is a great audition for Krajicek, who has a goal of competing in the Davis Cup in the future.
“I’m sure Patrick (McEnroe) wants to see (Krajicek) up close and gauge what kind of player he is,” Denton said. “To see if he’s a good enough fit down the road, and also see what his work ethic is like and how he reacts to a team setting. Those are things I love about Austin because he’s really good in those areas.”
Added Krajicek, “I hope I can make a good showing because it would be really nice if I could someday play for the Davis Cup team. My dream is to be a pro tennis player so being on the Davis Cup team is one of my goals. If I do well and have a good couple of practice days, I’d have a better shot in the future of being there.”
Krajicek is among three known Aggie men’s tennis players to ever participate with a Davis Cup Team. Former two-time A&M All-American Grant Connell (1984-85) was a 10-year veteran for his native Canada and Kimmo Alkio (1982-86) was a five-year veteran for his native Finland.