The 2012 champion Czech Republic and host Switzerland are prepared to do battle in an opening-round Davis Cup tie in Geneva this weekend.
The best-of-five clash will take place on an indoor hardcourt at Palexpo, where Swiss icon Roger Federer will not be on hand to lead his squad. The former world No. 1 star and 17-time Grand Slam king opted against playing for his country this week.
On Friday, the first match of the week will pit 17th-ranked Swiss Stan Wawrinka against Lukas Rosol, while the second opening singles rubber will have world No. 6 Czech star Tomas Berdych taking on unknown Swiss Henri Laaksonen. Rosol is taking the place of last year's Czech Davis Cup hero Radek Stepanek, who was forced to miss this tie because of a back injury. Stepanek won the fifth and deciding rubber in last year's final between the Czech Republic and then-defending champion Spain.
Saturday's doubles bout in Geneva will pit a Swiss team of Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli against a Czech duo of Ivo Minar and Jiri Vesely, while Sunday's reverse singles call for Berdych to face Wawrinka and Rosol to take on the Finnish-born Laaksonen.
The Czechs are captained by Jaroslav Navratil, while the Swiss are piloted by Severin Luthi. The Czech Republic and Swiss have split two all-time matchups, with the Czechs winning their last tie six years ago in Prague.
The Czech Republic-Switzerland winner will meet the Austria-Kazakhstan victor in April.