SAVILLE IMPRESSES HEWITT, EARNS DAVIS CUP DEBUT


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Luke Saville has been called up to the Australian Davis Cup team for the first time in his career after impressing team captain Lleyton Hewitt at the ATP Cup last month.


"It’s an incredible feeling to finally get the call-up," Saville told The First Serve.


"I've been working very hard for many years to get this opportunity. Countless hours of training, dedication and commitment."


The 28-year-old is currently in Pune, India, where he and fellow Australian John-Patrick Smith have reached the doubles final of the ATP 250 Tata Open to be played on Sunday.


Shortly before taking to the court for his semi-final match, Saville received a call from former world No. 1 and Australian team captain Lleyton Hewitt on Friday.


"I knew the team announcements were on Friday. I had a little bit of an inkling, but [when the phone rang] the heart rate skyrocketed rapidly. It's just absolutely incredible news, I'm very thankful," Saville exclaimed.


"To finally get the call from Lleyton, was, well you say a dream come true a lot. Some people put it lightly, but it's legitimately how I sum it up. It’s very surreal. I’m very proud of the work myself and my whole team have put in to get this opportunity."


It was at the ATP Cup in Sydney last month where Saville‘s fantastic form impressed Hewitt and ultimately earned him his Davis Cup debut.


"Luke gets his first opportunity to represent Australia at Davis Cup. It's something he has worked extremely hard for, and I couldn't be prouder of him to get this opportunity and being able to present him with a gold jacket and his number," Hewitt told Tennis Australia.


"Lleyton expressed that he was very happy with my form with John Peers in the ATP Cup," Saville explained to The First Serve.


"He was really happy with how I conducted myself playing for Australia. They were some very nice words from him, I’m very thankful."


After being eliminated in the group stages of the Davis Cup Finals in December, Australia will now have to beat Hungary in the qualifying round next month if they are to compete in the Finals again this year.


Alex de Minaur, Alexei Popyrin, Thanasi Kokkinakis and John Peers join Saville in the line up for Australia.


The tie will take place on March 4-5 at Ken Rosewall Arena - the same location the ATP Cup took place last month.


"I think it's a great choice for the location of this upcoming tie," Saville said.


"I know how much Alex [de Minaur] likes that court. He plays very well on there, it suits him. The atmosphere is amazing. I was personally very happy with how Peers and I played on that court as well."


"This is really why you play tennis. To be in a team environment and play for more than just yourself. I’m very happy. I cannot wait to get back to Australia to play in Sydney. Whatever role I have to play in the tie, I’m ready to do that to give it my all for the green and gold," Saville exclaimed.


As for the next month - after their final on Sunday in Pune, Saville and his doubles partner John-Patrick Smith will travel to the other side of the globe to play the ATP 250 Dallas Open in the United States, followed by the ATP 500 Abierto Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico.