The fourth Davis Cup tie between Austria and Australia will take place at the Messe Congress in Graz on clay, facing each other for the first time since 2005. In the previous one-sided matches, Australia scored two 5-0 wins on the grass while Horst Skoff and Thomas Muster led the Austrians towards a 5-0 win on clay in 1989. Austria had spent the last five season in Group I and they will try to reach the World Group for the first time since 2013 when they lost to Kazakhstan and the Netherlands.
The 28-time champion Australia had reached the World Group semi-final in 2015 and 2017 and they will try to stay in the elite without their best player Nick Kyrgios. The Austrian captain Stefan Koubek has gathered the strongest possible team, led by the Roland Garros runner-up Dominic Thiem.
Dennis Novak, Gerald Melzer, Jurgen Melzer and Oliver Marach will try to deliver the remaining points in singles and doubles and secure the win against Lleyton Hewitt's squad. Thiem and his coeval Novak should play the singles rubbers, with Dominic as one of the best players on clay in the recent years and Dennis who claimed 18 Futures titles on the slowest surface.
Gerald Melzer is another player who can play in singles while Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer could form the potential doubles squad in Melzer's last Davis Cup appearance before retiring from tennis in Vienna in October.
John Millman is traveling to Austria after reaching the quarter-final at the US Open, pumped after beating Roger Federer in the fourth round but not with a great record on clay, winning one Challenger and one Futures on the red surface.
Alex de MInaur is one of the youngest and most promising players in the Top 200 and he should play singles rubbers too, growing up in Alicante on clay and playing in the Challenger final there back in April. Alex played well in New York, staying in touch with Marin Cilic for four hours before falling 7-5 in the fifth set.
Alex is certainly capable of beating Novak or Melzer and it should be interesting to see his clash against Dominic Thiem, a true indicator of where he stands at the moment on clay. Jordan Thompson, John Peers and Lleyton Hewitt are also in the team and two of them should be in the doubles team, with Hewitt and Peers playing against the USA at home in 2016.
With Thiem in the squad, Austria is the favorite but we could see some interesting ties and maybe a challenging tie if Australia wins the doubles clash. Team nominations: