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Del Potro ruled out of Davis Cup clash with Italy

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Defending champions Argentina will miss the services of former World No.4 tennis star Juan Martin Del Potro for their next month's Davis Cup tie against Italy, Argentine captain Daniel Orsanic has revealed.

Orsanic said Diego Schwartzman, Horacio Zeballos, Guido Pella and Leonardo Mayer will play for Argentina in the February 3 to 5 tie at the capital's Sarmiento Park.

Currently ranked No. 39, 28-year-old Del Potro was the hero of Argentina's win over Croatia in the Davis Cup final last November.

Del Potro, whose ranking has dropped due to his many wrist injuries and operations, rallied from two sets down to beat Croatian No. 1 Marin Cilic and give Argentina a 3-2 win and the title.

Argentina will have to mount its title defence without Del Potro, the silver medallist in singles at the Rio Olympics, and Federico Delbonis, the world No. 44.

"I'm fine with the players who are going to compete in the tie against Italy," Orsanic said.

The absence of Del Potro and Delbonis is "understandable," Orsanic said, adding that "if they're not (playing), it's because they don't feel 100 percent physically and need to feel comfortable to think about the rest of the year."

With Del Potro and Delbonis on court, the tie against Italy would have been "very even," the Argentine Davis Cup captain said, noting that the team now faced a "very complicated" series of matches.

Mayer's participation is up in the air because his first child is expected to arrive around January 31, Orsanic said.

The Davis Cup tie at Sarmiento Park will be the second clash between Argentina and Italy in less than a year. Argentina beat Italy in the 2016 quarter-finals, thanks to Del Potro's return to Davis Cup action in Pesaro, Italy.