There’s not much love lost between the Australian and Argentinean Davis Cup teams, even when Lleyton Hewitt’s close personal enemy, Guillermo Coria, isn’t playing.

“I’m not his friend, nor is anyone else,” Argentine number one David Nalbandian said of Hewitt, which seemed a little unnecessary and personal. This was after the Argentine captain, Alberto Mancini, walked past the Australian without greeting him because “we don’t have a fluent relationship.” Meanwhile, the other probable local singles player, Jose Acasuso, accused Hewitt of turning the tie into a circus by bringing his own security staff.

So basically, this Buenos Aires tie is set for Lleyton to star because we all know how he loves feeling it’s him against the world.

Nalbandian, especially, is a slow learner, telling reporters: “It’s going to be easy, 4-1,” he said. “It’s going to be even nicer that he (Hewitt) is playing, it will be a better spectacle, but the Australians have the same chances as before.”

At this point, Hewitt or captain John Fitzgerald would do well to point the ponytailed Argentine to the scoreboard because Australia, massive underdog for the weekend’s semi-final, has a secret stat that will carry them into battle – Australia’s success rate in ties featuring both Hewitt and Mark Philippoussis.

A look at the Davis Cup records shows that when Lleyton and Scud have both played in a tie, we usually win. They’ve been in the same Cup team seven times and we’ve lost only once – a surprise loss against Sweden in Australia in 2004.

And together they’ve won two Davis Cup finals; in the Scud’s greatest moment, in 1999 versus France (away), and against Spain in Australia in 2003. They’ve combined to beat Switzerland at home and away (and keep in mind that’s Roger Federer’s team), as well as beating the USA, Britain and Sweden in Sweden.

Peter Fray

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