| Pouille questions use of clay for Davis Cup final

Lille  – France’s Davis Cup captain Lucas Pouille admitted on Monday that he had initially questioned the wisdom of choosing to stage this year’s final on clay.

France are looking to retain the trophy when they take on Croatia at the end of the week on clay courts at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille where they won last year’s final against Belgium.

“It wasn’t obvious at first, I was not necessarily in favour of the clay,” said Pouille who leads a French side missing their top three ranked singles players, Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils.

“At the end of the year, it isn’t easy to make in two, three weeks all the necessary preparation for this surface. There is a risk of injury caused by fatigue.”

The 24-year-old, who is ranked 32 in the world, quickly came round to the view of team captain Yannick Noah who felt the Croats would be weaker on clay than on hard courts.

“In the end, they have made the best choice,” said Pouille.

“We succeeded in having quality preparation and quantity. I think it’s the best surface for us if we want to have a chance of winning.”

With France’s three big names all absent from the line-up, Noah will be relying on Pouille and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, just back from injury, in the singles with two of Nicolas Mahut, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Jeremy Chardy featuring in the doubles.

The Croatian team features world number 7 Marin Cilic and number 12 Borna Coric, both of whom were involved in London last week for the ATP Masters.

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