Matt Simpson added to NZ Davis Cup lineup

Last updated 12:41 26/01/2013

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Matt Simpson is the newcomer to New Zealand's Davis Cup team for next week's Asia/Oceania Group II tie against Lebanon at North Harbour.

The Kiwi team is Dan King-Turner, Artem Sitak, Marcus Daniell and Simpson.

King-Turner has a current ATP singles ranking of 375, with Sitak at 553, Daniell at 693 and Simpson 1566.

All four players have had solid results in the past 12 months, with King-Turner making one quarterfinal and one semifinal at Challenger level in singles as well as winning a Futures title. In doubles, he made the final of a Challenger tournament and the semifinals of the 2012 Heineken Open.

Sitak reached a final of a Futures event in 2012 and three semifinals, while in doubles he made one Challenger final and three Futures finals. Daniell had a great run of results late in the year in Futures and ended up with seven Futures doubles titles for the year, to go with two finals. He also reached two singles semifinals.

Simpson played a large amount of German club tennis in 2012, but also competed in Futures where in doubles he made the six Futures quarterfinals in a row as well as a semifinal and two finals throughout the year.

"I'm very happy with the team, led by Dan King-Turner and Artem Sitak, while Marcus Daniell has been in good form of late and has been in the team on a number of occasions previously," said new Davis Cup captain Alistair Hunt.

"I've bought Matt Simpson into the side as he has experience at Davis Cup and experience in Futures events too. He's played a lot of German club tennis in the past 12 months and knows what to do in a Davis Cup environment."

Hunt, 40 will make his debut as captain after formerly being a manager of the team several years ago and being in the New Zealand team 19 times as a player.

"I'm pretty excited and thrilled to be in the role. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time. I want to do a good job and instill my brand of captaincy on the team, so we can aim to make it back to the strong Asia/Oceania Group I as soon as possible," said Hunt.

"It's a tie we have to win and expect to win. We're playing at home at North Harbour and we know the courts very well. We expect to play well and all of the players have some form leading up to the tie with the Residentials, Heineken Open and Australian Tennis League."

The tie was originally meant to be held in Beirut, Lebanon, however it was then slated to be held at a neutral venue at Cairo, Egypt, before being transferred to North Harbour as a result of player safety concerns.

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The Lebanon team consists of Karim Alayli, Patrick Chucri, Ibrahim Abou-Chahine and Michael Massih with the captain Hussein Bradreddine. No players in the team have current ATP singles rankings.

The winner of the tie will take on either Pakistan or Sri Lanka in April.

New Zealand v Lebanon, Asia/Oceania Group II first round

Albany Tennis Park (indoors), North Harbour
February 1-3

- Fairfax Media

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