New Zealand Tennis Davis Cup
Dean Kozanic/ Fairfax NZ
The New Zealand Davis Cup tennis team captain Alistair Hunt.
New Zealand Davis Cup captain Alistair Hunt has selected his strongest possible team for next month's tie against China in Auckland.
As expected, Hunt has named Michael Venus, Rubin Statham, Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell in his four-man team for the Asia/Oceania group one tie at Stanley Street on March 6-8.
New Zealand No 1 Venus has already impressed in 2015, reaching the second round of the Heineken Open singles, and third round of the Australian Open doubles. He has an ATP singles ranking of 373 and is ranked 58 in doubles.
Sitak also reached the third round of the men's doubles at this year's Australian Open, and has snuck ahead of Venus to be New Zealand's top ranked doubles player, at 57.
Statham is New Zealand's most experienced Davis Cup player for the home tie, and holds an impressive 21 win/10 loss record in Davis Cup rubbers. After a lengthy injury layoff in 2014, Statham has improved his ATP singles ranking to 581 with a strong showing at the end of last year.
Like Sitak and Venus, Daniell is forging out a career for himself as a doubles player and has a ranking of 108, while in singles he's a 531.
While the selection of the four players for the tie was straight forward, Hunt has a dilemma over who to use in the singles and doubles rubbers.
On ranking, Venus and Sitak are his best doubles players, but he will also want to use Venus in one of the singles rubbers on the first day of the tie and may not want to use him again in the doubles on day two if there's a live singles rubber he needs to play on the last day.
New Zealand leads the series between the two nations 5-2, but it's the Chinese who've come out on top in the last two match-ups, including a 3-1 victory in 2014.
The winner of this tie will play India in the second round in July. The loser faces a relegation tie later in the year.