Oozing with confidence, Thailand will rest their top ATP-ranked player, Pruchya Isarow, for the opening singles against Hong Kong in their Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone group two tie in Phuket today.
Pruchya, who holds an ATP ranking of 807 in singles, was declared for tomorrow's doubles, opening the way for two lesser-ranked players to carry the battle to Hong Kong's Phillip King and Ognian Kolev, who have been nominated for the opening-day singles. King faces Warit Sornbutnark, the Thai number two, in the first singles with Kolev coming up against Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul in the second singles event.
Warit is ranked 1,258 while Wishaya has a ranking of 915.
"Obviously, Isarow is their number one player, but they have kept him for the doubles encounter on Saturday and are only likely to bring him in for singles if things don't go right for them after the first two days," said Chris Lai, Hong Kong's non-playing Davis Cup captain, of the first-round tie.
Pruchya is set to play doubles with Nuttanon Kadchapanana.
The pair won the doubles title at the Asian Championships in Bangkok last December and form a solid combination.
Such is the confidence within the Thai camp that they are willing to rest their best player on the opening day.
Hong Kong's hopes will centre on King, a former US Open junior champion. King, who spearheaded Hong Kong's promotion from group three last year, only joined the rest of the squad, also comprising Kevin Wong and Andrew Li, last night.
"Phillip has a decent chance if he plays the way he usually does, but Ogi [Kolev] will face a tougher time," Lai said.
"Wishaya has a big game and can do a lot of damage if he gets the momentum going. We will just take it a match at a time. I believe the last day will boil down to physical fitness considering the tropical conditions."
The tie was originally to be played in Bangkok earlier this month, but Hong Kong refused to travel to the Thai capital due to the political protests.
The ITF then moved the tie to Phuket.