France hosts Argentina in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals on 17-19 September with a place in the final against either Serbia or Czech Republic at stake.
Gael Monfils leads the French team in the absence of the injured Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who misses out for the second straight tie with a recurring knee injury.
Monfils has jumped to No. 15 in the world rankings after reaching the US Open quarterfinals last week when he lost to eventual runner-up Novak Djokovic.
“For an emotional player like me to play in Davis Cup is just something unbelievable,” said Monfils, who made his debut in last year’s World Group play-offs against Netherlands.
“You’re not playing for yourself, you’re playing for your flag. You have your whole country behind you, an unbelievable crowd, your friends on the side, your captain on the chair. There’s a different spirit.”
The 24 year-old, who is unbeaten in Davis Cup play this year, is joined by Michael Llodra, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon, while Julien Benneteau is also absent through injury.
Llodra found himself playing singles and doubles in France’s quarterfinal whitewash over defending champions Spain, and he may be called upon to play a similar role in this tie.
Argentina is once again hoping for a match-winning performance from its talisman David Nalbandian. The experienced 28 year-old has won the deciding fifth rubber in both his team’s 3-2 victories this year, away in Sweden and Russia.
Nalbandian has been in fine form this summer after returning from a string of injuries. He won the title at Washington and then reached the quarterfinals at the Masters 1000 event in Toronto.
“It’s going to be tough,” said the former world No. 3. “I think it’s going to be tougher than Russia, but we have to try to believe in the team and try to do the best all of the days over there. We have to keep our focus on the semis.”
Nalbandian has been named alongside Juan Monaco, Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos. Last year’s US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro misses out again with a long-term wrist injury.
France has an unbeaten record against Argentina, having won all four of their previous ties. They faced each other three times at Roland Garros between 1952 and 1960, while their most recent meeting was in Buenos Aries, in 1982.
France has been crowned Davis Cup champion nine times. Its last triumph came in 2001 when Guy Forget's team recorded a 3-2 victory over Australia in Melbourne.
Argentina is yet to win the Davis Cup title despite reaching the final twice in the last four years. It also finished runner-up in 1981.