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Del Potro turns down Argentina over 'two-faced' approach

Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina celebrates after defeating Richard Gasquet of France during their ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at t
Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina celebrates after defeating Richard Gasquet of France during their ATP World Tour Finals tennis match at t

By Luis Ampuero

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Juan Martin del Potro has declined to play in Argentina's Davis Cup tie against Italy next year and said efforts by the country's tennis association (AAT) to get him back on the team were "two-faced".

The world number five said on Friday he was tired of receiving invitations by email and messages from the AAT and that he would not be available for the January 31-February 2 world group first round tie at home on clay.

"I won't be (available) in this first tie to be played against Italy," Del Potro said in a statement sent to AAT president Arturo Grimaldi and Davis Cup team captain Martin Jaite.

"I'm tired of being invited by email or messages and being pressured at the same time through certain media with stories about whether or not I'll play the Davis Cup, trying to make me look bad to public opinion.

"It seems to me a hypocritical two-faced stance, the same as last year when any reply or non-reply was quickly known by some journalists," wrote Del Potro, who was heavily criticized by fans and in some sections of the media for turning his country down in the past.

Del Potro told the AAT at the end of 2012 he would not play in the Davis Cup at all this year to concentrate on the ATP Tour but they have been trying to persuade him to return since Argentina lost their semi-final to the Czech Republic in Prague in September.

Argentina, who have reached the final four times, have already lost their outstanding Davis Cup campaigner David Nalbandian, who announced his retirement last month.

Del Potro said he had not been consulted by the AAT over some of its decisions despite being Argentina's top player.

"I was never consulted over the choice of captain, surfaces, venues etc, and once (the decisions) were made, like for the tie against the Czech Republic in 2012, my opinion was not considered," he said.

The 2012 semi-final defeat was the last time Del Potro, who won his opening singles against Radek Stepanek but pulled out of the Sunday singles against Tomas Berdych through injury, played in the Davis Cup.

(Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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