Disappointed Ebden out to rebound in Davis Cup doubles

Matt Ebden’s dream of becoming the world’s top doubles player may be over for another year - but now he has his sights set on becoming a global champion for Australia with another partner.

Ebden endured an anti-climactic end to his title push at the ATP Finals when he and ageless Indian star Rohan Bopanna got knocked out in Saturday’s semi-final in Turin.

But though he looked hugely disappointed as the defeat ruined their chances of ending the year as the world’s No.1 team, there was no time for Ebden to feel sorry for himself as he flew from Italy to Spain to join up with Australia’s Davis Cup team in Malaga.

The 35-year-old figures to again be a key figure in Lleyton Hewitt’s outfit as he links up with his old Wimbledon-winning partner Max Purcell in a doubles pairing that could again prove Australia’s major weapon in this week’s finals.

The pair have won five of their six Davis Cup rubbers together, including three victories in an unbeaten week in Manchester in September that did most to ensure last year’s runners-up again made it to another finals in Spain.

Last year, Hewitt’s team were only denied at the final hurdle by Canada but the Aussies remain confident they can go one better this year, with Ebden and Purcell the formidable backstops should any of the best-of-three match ties come down to a doubles decider.

First up in Wednesday’s quarter-finals for Australia will be the Czech Republic, with Alex de Minaur set to take his familiar leading role and any one of Thanasi Kokkinakis, Jordan Thompson and Purcell taking the No.2 singles spot.

But Ebden and Purcell, Wimbledon winners last year, are a brilliant combination if it all comes down to the doubles - a scenario they both love.

“There’s nothing that can trump that experience and history as a team,” Ebden explained after their Manchester heroics.

“You don’t lose that, and we will always know we play very well together, so it gives us great confidence and incredible belief always no matter what.”

Purcell agrees, explaining their confidence in Manchester: “Any time whenever we have a live doubles to play, I feel like it's almost game over for us.”

For Ebden, who has a proud Davis Cup record of 10 wins and just two defeats, including four singles wins, triumph in Malaga would be the prefect tonic after his Turin anti-climax.

“I’m not sure there’s too many better feelings than performing well and fighting and winning with your teammates and for your country. It’s extra special. It’s different,” he said in Manchester.

“It doesn’t get any bigger than Davis Cup. I love it. I love those extra heightened feelings and extra challenges. I really enjoy the battle.”

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