Russia captain Shamil Tarpischev has opted to use Igor Kunitsyn for the opening singles of the Davis Cup series against Austria instead of his highest ranked player, Mikhail Youzhny.
The 79th-ranked Kunitsyn, who is 51 places below Youzhny, will open the best-of-five series Friday against Austria's No. 1 Jurgen Melzer, followed by Andreas Haider-Maurer taking on Russia's Alex Bogomolov Jr.
Tarpischev declined to elaborate on his decision and says ''one should explain after the match. We will not give insights in our decisions beforehand.''
Youzhny was picked to play alongside Nikolay Davydenko in Saturday's doubles against Alexander Peya and Oliver Marach, though these pairings are subject to change.
The draw Thursday for the Davis Cup first-round series between Austria and Russia to be played on an indoor hardcourt at Arena Nova (doubles and reverse singles pairings subject to change):
Friday Singles Jurgen Melzer, Austria, vs. Igor Kunitsyn, Russia.
Andreas Haider-Maurer, Austria, vs. Alex Bogomolov Jr., Russia.
Saturday Doubles Alexander Peya and Oliver Marach, Austria...