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Davis Cup build-up is low and slow



LIEGE, Belgium: Australia's Davis Cup team is trying to adapt to a 'low, slow' claycourt as it prepares to face Belgium in this week's first round tie.

The visitors had their first hit out on the court at the Country Hall du Sart-Hilman in Liege yesterday and found a surface suited to Belgium's leading player Olivier Rochus, the world No.34.

However, Australian coach John Fitzgerald had no complaints.

"It's a lovely little stadium. It's small, but I think the atmosphere will be quite loud," Fitzgerald said.

"The court is an interesting claycourt.

"It hasn't been down for long, it seems like it has got a wooden base underneath it, so it's a bit softer than the clay that you'd normally play on, particularly on an established outside court.

"So the ball stays a little low, it's a low, slow claycourt, which I'd say has been made to help Olivier (Rochus), but a low court is fine for us."

Australia's No.1 Lleyton Hewitt fares best on faster hard courts but has shown he can also be very competitive on clay.

The Australian team of Hewitt, Chris Guccione, Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak takes on Belgium's Olivier Rochus, Kristof Vliegen, Christophe Rochus and Dick Norman from Friday, seeking a second round match up against either Germany or Croatia.