Russia is pinning its hopes of remaining in the elite Davis Cup group on a squad that includes a player ranked 465th in the world.
Defeat in the match against Brazil from Friday to Sunday would see two-time Davis Cup champion drop out of the World Group for the first time.
But that threat has not deterred team captain Shamil Tarpishchev from allowing 96th-ranked Evgeny Donskoy and the 114th-rated Andrei Kuznetsov to skip the match to play point-winning tour events instead.
“We decided to compromise with the guys because a real chance has emerged for them to be in the top 100 of the world rankings and thus reach the main draw of the Australian Open,” he said.
Tarpishchev is fielding more experienced players in Nikolai Davydenko, 48th in the world, No. 90 Alex Bogomolov and 96th-ranked Igor Andreev.
But he has also summoned 163rd-ranked Teymuraz Gabashvili, and 21-year-old Stanislav Vovk, ranked 465, to complete the lineup.
Gabashvili is a former world No. 59 best known for defeating Andy Roddick on a charge to the fourth round of the French Open in 2009.
Vovk, meanwhile, has a career-high rating of No. 414 and is not a doubles specialist, the usual reason for including players with such low singles ratings.
The decision appears to have delighted Vovk.
“It’s amazing to be with the team Russia,” he said on Twitter on Monday.
The tie will take play on clay in San Jose do Rio Preto.
Brazil can only draw on one singles player in the top 100, world No. 41 Thomaz Bellucci, but the South Americans are stronger in doubles, where they boast three top 100 men’s players.
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