Blake hopes to put Davis disappointment behind in Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama - James Blake will be hoping for Davis Cup rehabilitation when he opens the tie against Switzerland for the 32-time champion United States on Friday.
The world number 13 missed last September's losing semi-final against Spain in Madrid, calling himself burnt out.
This season has not been much better for Blake, but the American is at least more convinced of his chances as the Swiss and the Americans play for the third time.
"It's a great feeling being back," said Blake. "2008 really caught up with me. I was just so tired by the time we were to play Spain. But I learned my lesson about skedding too much.
"I would not have been the best man for the job in that ties and probably would not have been able to change the (losing) scoreline."
In the second opening singles, Andy Roddick aims for a 21st Davis Cup win at home, facing Marco Chiudinelli who is playing for the first time in an away tie.
Roger Federer is missing the weekend, training in Dubai with Australian Darren Cahill and expected to return at the Indian Wells Masters 1000 late next week in California.
In Benidorm, Spain, David Ferrer and number 3 Novak Djokovic stage a re-run of last Sunday's Dubai final won by the Serb.
World number 1 Rafael Nadal will return to action for the first time since losing last month's Rotterdam final to Andy Murray. The Spaniard takes on Serbian Janko Tipsarevic as the defending champion Iberians start their 2009 campaign.
"To play Rafael Nadal, the world number 1 and possibly the greatest ever clay court player of all time, on clay, in Spain - that's about as difficult as it can be," said Tipsarevic.
"But I have a good record in Davis Cup, I have done well against top 10 players, and you never know what can happen in Davis Cup."
2008 finalist Argentina faces the Netherlands without either one of their top two players, with Juan Del Potro not on the side after refusing to be called up and David Nalbandian out, a victim of a virus combined with poor form.
Juan Chela goes into the breach to start the tie against newcomer Jesse Huta Galung, while late substitute Juan Monaco takes on Thiemo de Bakker.
Sweden host controversial Israel behind closed doors and without a crowd in their tie after officials in the port city of Malmo ruled that public order could be at risk.
The decision did not please the International Tennis Federation, but local officials had the last word with 1,000 police on duty.
Swede Thomas Johansson returns from injury to play Harel Levy. Andreas Vinciguerra faces Dudi Sela.
In other ties, Croatia hosts Chile, France travel to the Czech Republic with a powerful side featuring Gilles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet, Romania plays Russia and Germany takes on neighboring Austria. dpa