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2003 Sep 19 - Davis Cup: El Aynaoui philosophical

Great Britain will play Morocco tomorrow in the Davis Cup World Group play-off (19-21 Sept), knowing that a loss will eject them out of the 16 nation World Group for at least 2 years.

The location is not on home soil either, as we are playing at the Complexe Sportif Al Amal in Casablanca, Morocco.

As if the tie wasn't difficult enough already; Moroccan no.1 Younes El Aynaoui has been in stunning form taking him to 14 in the ATP champions race. He has also been playing doubles this year with Moroccan no.2 Hicham Arazi, as we saw at Wimbledon.

Younes said:

"When we play, the stadium is full and the enthusiasm is at the maximum. The last time we played the Davis Cup, for the first time in Marrakesh, I think for 50% of the crowd it was their first tennis match.

"They were enjoying it and it is a great feeling to be part of it. For us it is already a great achievement and honour to receive the Brits in Morocco for a Davis Cup tie.

"It goes beyond the result. We are just happy to play and I think the country will benefit from it. The country will have the chance to watch great players. Hopefully everything will go well, but the score doesn't matter.

"It helps me a lot personally, knowing I have a whole lot of supporters there. Today we have athletics and then tennis, not even soccer. I think tennis is the second most popular sport.

"The only problem is that it is still a very selective sport and not everybody has the chance to play. But they like to support and follow on the TV and the Davis Cup is attracting a lot of people.

"When you go on the beach you see them playing with wood racquets. I wish they had the chance to play and the tennis would be like it is in England and France, where you don't have to be a millionaire to play tennis.

"I think sport is one of the greatest issues in the poorest countries. It not only brings the expectation of a career, but also an education, and the best way to get kids away from violence and drugs is to put them into sport."

The British line-up includes:

  • Tim Henman
  • Greg Rusedski
  • Miles Maclagan (Arvind Parmar - confirmed dropped)
  • Alex Bogdanovic

The Moroccan line-up includes:

  • Younes El Aynaoui
  • Hicham Arazi
  • Mounir El Aarej
  • Jalal Chafai-Alaoui

Click here for the official Davis Cup tie details and order of play.


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