You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Statham to join NZ Davis Cup history books

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/09/2016

Kiwi tennis veteran Rubin Statham will become New Zealand's most experienced Davis Cup player when he takes on Pakistan in Christchurch.

Statham, 29, will set a record for Kiwi Davis Cup ties when he plays in the opening singles rubber against Pakistan's Abid Ali Khan Akbar on Friday.

It will be the Auckland native's 26th Davis Cup tie, surpassing Onny Parun's record of 25 ties.

He has won 20 and lost 14 of his Davis Cup singles matches and missed only one since his 2005 debut.

"I guess it'll be something pretty special to get that record and kick off the tie," Statham said.

"I've got some great matchplay coming in and I've played five or six tournaments in a row leading into this and had some good results."

In the other singles rubber, Finn Tearney will take on Samir Iftikar.

The match will mark the 25-year-old's first ever live singles rubber.

"I've loved Davis Cup ever since I was young and it's very special," Tearney said.

Meanwhile, Olympians Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell will represent New Zealand in the doubles rubber after strong seasons on the world tour.

They will tussle with Akbar and acting captain Aqueel Khan on Saturday, before Statham and Tearney swap singles opponents on Sunday.

Pakistan travel to New Zealand without star man Aisam ul Haq Qureshi, who has skipped the tie.

Iftikhar and Akbar, who are both based in the United States, have played in three and one Davis Cup ties respectively.

The loser of the tie will be relegated to Group Two in the Asia Oceania Zone.

"They will give 100 per cent and we'll see what happens," Khan said.

New Zealand team captain Alistair Hunt said his team had eased into the week given their workload throughout 2016 but would be ready come Friday.

He was bullish about his team's chances of victory.

"I'll be pretty confident for the weekend, especially in the doubles, so we'll see how we go a day at a time," Hunt said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon