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Rafter hopes French feel pain

Aap
Thursday, January 30, 2014

LONDON - Australian captain Pat Rafter is hoping the pressure of favouritism could expose some mental frailties in French big guns Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during this week's Davis Cup showdown.

Star-studded France are strongly fancied to defeat an Australian team missing the injured Bernard Tomic in the first-round World Group tie, starting tomorrow in La Roche-sur-Yon.

Rafter says Australia, with a team including veteran Lleyton Hewitt and a pair of rising teenagers, are deserved underdogs but it could work in their favour.

Top-ten players Gasquet and Tsonga have had their mental toughness questioned at times over the years and Rafter believes the pressure is firmly on the home side for the indoor claycourt tie.

"Hopefully their boys are a little bit tight and our boys can control the games," Rafter told AAP on Tuesday.