RODDICK, Martin to lead the U.S. against India

Thursday, September 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ U.S. Open quartefinalist Andy Roddick and veteran Todd Martin will lead the United States against India in the Davis Cup qualifying round in September.

The squad, announced Thursday by team captain Patrick McEnroe, also includes James Blake, Rob Ginepri and doubles specialists Jared Palmer and Donald Johnson.

``It's a six-man team with a possibility that they all could play,'' McEnroe said.

Roddick, 19, one of the hottest players in tennis, won three ATP titles this year and advanced to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. He made his Davis Cup debut in February against Switzerland, defeating Georg Bastl in the 3-2 U.S. loss to the Swiss.

``Andy is a great kid, a great player. He likes the team concept and we're hoping we can keep him for a long time,'' McEnroe said.

Martin, 31, has represented the United States in Davis Cup play every year since he made his debut against India in the first round of the 1994 competition. Martin, has a 14-14 Davis Cup record (11-8 in singles), was a singles finalist at the 1994 Australian Open and 1999 U.S. Open

Blake was on the verge of upsetting Australian star Lleyton Hewitt at the U.S. Open last week before wilting in the heat and losing the final two sets.

During the match Hewitt erupted in a tirade that included comments widely interpreted as racial. Hewitt said his remarks were misinterpreted.

``He's been improving a lot over the past six months, what he did here was a tremendous effort,'' said Mc Enroe.

India is led by 1996 Olympics bronze medalist Leander Paes and teammate Mahesh Bhupathi. The pair, one of the best doubles teams in the world, were the first team in over 45 years to reach all four Grand Slam doubles finals in a calendar year, winning the 1999 Wimbledon and French open and losing in the final of the Australian and U.S. opens.

The tie will take place in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from Sept. 21-23.

The winner will stay in the World Group in 2002, while the loser will be relegated.