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22 March 2013

Stepanek to return against Kazakhstan


Photo: Paul Zimmer/Martin SidorjakRadek Stepanek (CZE)

It was the news that all Czech fans wanted to hear – Radek Stepanek will play against Kazakhstan in his team’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarterfinal in Astana next month.

The 34-year-old talisman was instrumental in ensuring his team took the title on home soil in the 100th Davis Cup Final at the O2 Arena in Prague last November, but he was unable to play in February’s first round clash because of an injury.

In January, Stepanek had surgery on his neck to alleviate a problem that had been causing him pain since the start of the season.

He told “A neck disc was pressing on a nerve and was creating a big problem in my neck and right hand. I had no feeling on it and no power.”

Stepanek conducted an interview on Facebook earlier this week, explaining that he had been taking part in full training sessions in the United States and that he was feeling good after the operation in January.

He said that he was ready to play Davis Cup for Czech Republic and that at this stage no decision had been made about whether he would be playing in singles, doubles or both.

Kazakhstan caused a huge upset by defeating the Czechs in a first round tie in Ostrava in 2011 – the former Russian state’s first-ever World Group victory – and if Stepanek is not fully fit the Kazakhs could once again prove to be a tricky opponent.

Stepanek and Tomas Berdych won all 12 of the live rubbers last year required to lift the Davis Cup trophy and Jaroslav Navratil will need his tried and tested duo to be at its best if his team is to stand a chance of retaining the title.

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