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Australia get their ‘dream team’

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Originally published on: 20/10/10 12:28

“This is something of a dream-team combination,” said the head of Australian men’s tennis Todd Woodbridge following the appointment of Pat Rafter and Tony Roche. “Pat and Tony both have an incredible commitment to the sport and their country, and to be able to get them both on board is truly a coup.”

Rafter, who will replace the long-standing John Fitzgerald, is honoured to have been awarded the position. And after the team missed out on promotion to the Davis Cup World Group last month after losing 3-2 to Belgium his aim is “helping lift Australian men’s tennis on the world stage”.

“My standards and expectations are extremely high,” said the two-time US Open winner and 2001 Wimbledon finalist. “This is a great opportunity to be part of something that means a lot to me.”

The vastly experienced Tony Roche, who has worked as a private coach to Grand Slam champions Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and Rafter, will also come in as team coach after previously holding the position from 1994 to 2000.

The pair will begin their quest in getting the 28-time champions back into the World Group next March in a first-round Asia-Oceania Group I tie against Taiwan in Melbourne.

Hewitt, who is the nation’s most successful Davis Cup player, welcomed both appointments.

“Pat and I get along great and have shared some special moments at the highest level of Davis Cup, and I look forward to working with him,” he said.

“And Rochey, I have always said his experience is second to none and he will be a fantastic addition again to the team.”

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