March 02, 2016

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Lleyton Hewitt will end his short retirement to become playing captain for Australia against the United States in the first round of the Davis Cup World Group this weekend, although he was not immediately included in the opening three matches and is officially on standby.

Davis Cup officials said Hewitt, who retired after a second-round singles loss at the Australian Open in January, will replace Nick Kyrgios, who has a virus.

Hewitt took over as Australia captain at the start of this year.

The draw for the first-round tie on grass at Kooyong was held Thursday morning, and Sam Groth will open against John Isner in singles, with Bernard Tomic playing Jack Sock in the second match.

On Saturday, Groth and John Peers are scheduled to play doubles against Bob and Mike Bryan, although that lineup can be changed on the morning of the match, along with reverse singles on Sunday. There was speculation that Hewitt could replace Groth in doubles if Groth was tired from his singles match.

Australia and the United States are meeting for the 46th time - but the first since the 1999 quarterfinals, when Australia went on to beat France for the title. The U.S. has a leading 32 Davis Cup victories, with Australia second with 28.

Kyrgios was affected by a virus while also struggling with a back injury which forced him to withdraw from his semifinal match in Dubai last week.

The 35-year-old Hewitt is Australia's most successful Davis Cup player, having won 58 of the 78 singles and doubles matches he's played since his 1999 debut.

He helped lead Australia to its 1999 title and again in the final against Spain in 2003. He made his last appearance for Australia in its World Group semifinal loss to Britain last year.

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