Sam Groth is awaiting a phone call from Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter after showcasing his credentials and competitive fight in a respectable second-round US Open loss to Roger Federer.
Groth went down swinging in a 6-4 6-4 6-4 defeat at Flushing Meadows on Friday night before putting his hand up to potentially replace the injured Bernard Tomic for next month’s World Group playoff against Uzbekistan in Perth.
With Tomic quitting the Open with a hip problem and saying he’s uncertain if he’ll be fit for the September 12-14 grasscourt tie, Rafter is weighing up his options.
Groth’s explosive power game is tailor made for grass – as was evident by the 26-year-old reaching his maiden ATP semi-final last month in Newport.
He and teenage prospect Thanasi Kokkinakis are the frontline contenders for a promotion.
Davis Cup coach Josh Eagle was among the first in the Flushing Meadows locker room to congratulate the world’s fastest serve on his breakthrough Open campaign.
“I think there’s a chance. Josh’s got to speak with Pat, so they’ll come up with a decision together and hopefully I’ll hear from Pat in the next day or so,” Groth said.
Tennis Australia said Rafter had already left New York to return to Australia to begin preparations for the playoff, but Groth hoped he’d already shown the skipper enough to warrant inclusion in the four-man team.
Groth has won six doubles titles in 2014 with Chris Guccione, who has routinely played with Lleyton Hewitt in Davis Cup, while also breaking into the world’s top 100 in singles.
“I want to be in a position that I can play both so I’ve made that an option for the team,” Groth told AAP.
“I’d love to be a part of things and, if they feel like I fit into the team, then I’ll make myself available to be a part of things.
“There’s four guys out there and you want to have options over the three days.”
Groth earned rave reviews from Federer and tennis great John McEnroe for his daring serve-volley game and the strapping one-time Australian rules footballer vowed to continue playing in such an entertaining fashion.
“I grew up idolising Pat (Rafter) and Mark Philippoussis, who were the two guys coming through at the top of the game at that stage,” he said.
“I grew up on grass in Australia. I always sort of serve-volleyed, came to the net.
“Ever since I was young, I always rushed the net. It hasn’t always worked for me, but I think I’m getting better at it.
“I think it’s what I’ve got to do. I’m a big guy. I’m never going to be the quickest guy around the court.
“”I’ve got an aggressive style of game. I think that’s the best way for me to play, and I’m going to keep doing it.”