Tomic youngest Australia Davis Cup player since 1933

MELBOURNE: Bernard Tomic became Australia's youngest Davis Cup player in 77 years when he was named Thursday to lead off the Asia Oceania Group One tie against Taiwan.

The 17-year-old was preferred ahead of the higher-ranked Carsten Ball to win a singles spot, alongside Peter Luczak for the zonal tie, starting at Melbourne Park on Friday.

At 17 years and 135 days, Tomic will be Australia's youngest player since Vivian McGrath played at the age of 17 years 84 days against Norway in 1933, Tennis Australia said.

Tomic, ranked 298, will face Taiwanese number two Yang Tsung-hua, ranked 322, while the 75th-ranked Luczak will take on Yi Chu-huan, listed at 514.

Ball and Paul Hanley will team up for the doubles rubber on Saturday against Yang and Yi.

"It's his first experience at this level and this level is like no other, but having said that he is a player who will step into the role of an important Davis Cup player very quickly," Australian captain John Fitzgerald said.

Australia's most decorated Davis Cup player, Lleyton Hewitt, was not considered for selection after recent right hip surgery.

Taiwan's top player Lu Yen-hsun decided to pass on the tournament so that younger players could have an opportunity to gain valuable experience in major international competitions, according to a statement released by the Chinese Taipei Tennis Association.