NEW YORK: Pat Rafter is considering throwing Sam Groth into the Davis Cup cauldron after watching the big-hitting journeyman blast his way into the second round of the US Open.
Groth continued his remarkable rise from one-time bag-carrying hitting partner and Australian Rules footballer to grand slam force with a 6-3
7-6 (7-5) 6-3 win over Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas yesterday morning.
More-celebrated compatriots Samantha Stosur, Casey Dellacqua and Bernard Tomic will be fancied to go further in the draw after also advancing to the second round.
But Rafter is sizing up the world’s fastest server for equally important national duties.
Australia hosts Kazakhstan in a world group playoff next month in Perth and Groth, fresh from cracking the world’s top 100 in singles, looms large as a doubles option.
The 26-year-old has won six doubles titles this year with countryman Chris Guccione and is chasing a seventh at Flushing Meadows to further showcase his Davis Cup credentials.
Rafter and Davis Cup coach Josh Eagle ventured to far-flung court 15 to watch Groth oust Ramos-Vinolas without facing a single break point.
“I would love nothing more than to represent my country,” Groth said later.
First things first, though.
His reward for reaching the second round is a prime-time showstopper under the bright lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium against 17-times grand slam champion Roger Federer.
Federer confirmed the date with a 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over Groth’s compatriot Marinko Matosevic in yesterday’s feature night match.
“Obviously it’s going to be a big moment, the biggest moment of my career,” Groth said.
“It’s my second time in a grand slam second round and, if it’s on the biggest court in the world — size-wise — on a Friday night in the biggest city in the world, of course it’s going to be a dream come true.
“When you’re growing up, you dream of playing tournaments like this. You dream of playing on the big stadium courts.
“You don’t dream of playing on a back court at Kalgoorlie.”