Sport Tennis Sam Groth sticks the boot into absent Tomic
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Sam Groth sticks the boot into absent Tomic

Sam Groth and Bernard Tomic
Sam Groth and Bernard Tomic have been Davis Cup teammates and doubles partners in the past. Photo: Getty
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Sam Groth says the Australian team is better off without Bernard Tomic if he doesn’t want to play Davis Cup for his country.

Tomic, the world No.32 and second-ranked Australian to Nick Kyrgios, gave himself a leave of absence from this weekend’s tie with the Czech Republic.

The 24-year-old will instead prepare for upcoming ATP tournaments to retain a top-32 ranking – and the crucial grand slam seeding that comes with it – in time for the French Open and Wimbledon.

In Tomic’s place comes world No.65 Jordan Thompson to play alongside Kyrgios.

Groth, who will play with doubles specialist John Peers in Saturday’s pairs tie, says Tomic’s absence doesn’t present a problem.

He says the four nominated players, along with invited hitting partners, overshadowed Tomic’s withdrawal.

“He’s got a great Davis Cup record but … we want people who want to be here,” Groth said on Wednesday.

“We’ve got four guys plus all the support staff.

“Alex De Minaur’s here, Matt Reid, J.P. Smith’s been hitting – everyone that’s here wants to be here.

“There’s a great team atmosphere and great team environment and it’s giving us the best chance to do well.”

Groth said he believed the Davis Cup side under captain Lleyton Hewitt now has plenty of options to turn to in future.

“You never know who’s not going to be available because of injury or sickness or personal issues,” he said.

“Where in the past we’ve had to plug people in at the moment we don’t have to do that. We have so many people putting their hands up and that’s a real positive.”

Getty
John Peers is in good form, having won the doubles title at the Australian Open. Photo: Getty

Both Peers and Groth bring strong form to the table for the often-crucial doubles tie on Saturday.

Peers won the men’s doubles at Melbourne Park with Finnish partner Henri Kontinen, knocking out Groth and fellow Australian Chris Guccione in the quarter-finals.

Groth also coupled with Samantha Stosur for a run to the semi-finals of the mixed doubles in Melbourne.

His serve – still registered as the fastest in world tennis – will be crucial in settling the Kooyong tie.

“There will be no records. (I’m) just trying to get it in and give Peersy a chance at the net,” he said.

“If we serve well we’ll give ourselves a good chance to win.”

-AAP

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