TENNIS / DAVIS CUP : Patrick McEnroe, Washington Join the Team

TIMES STAFF WRITER

There will be a McEnroe playing Davis Cup this year after all. It's Patrick, not brother John, who is getting the call for the United States in its Davis Cup relegation round match against the Bahamas.

McEnroe is joining occasional doubles partner Richey Reneberg and singles players Andre Agassi and Mal Washington on the U.S. team, which was announced by captain Tom Gorman at a news conference Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C.

The United States plays the Bahamas on Sept. 24-26 on a hard court specially constructed for this match at the Olde Providence Racket Club in Charlotte.

"We have a very strong team," said Gorman, who turned to Washington when Pete Sampras decided not to play.

Sampras said the Davis Cup dates and the level of competition made the decision for him.

"I feel there are a number of guys who can win that (match)," Sampras said. "I told Tom I'm not really up for playing. . . . That's the time of year I take a lot of time off."

With Michael Chang committed to events in Asia, Washington was an easy choice, especially after Gorman was widely criticized, most vocally by John McEnroe, for not selecting Washington to play against Australia in what turned out to be a first-round defeat.

Gorman said he felt no great need to field a team that included Sampras, Jim Courier and Agassi.

"I don't need those three guys," Gorman said. "I need them for the semifinals and finals next year."

The United States returns to the Davis Cup World Group in 1994 if it defeats the Bahamas, who have a two-man team consisting Roger Smith, 29, and Mark Knowles, 21.

Smith, ranked No. 184 in singles and No. 166 in doubles, has played two ATP Tour matches this year. Knowles, a former UCLA All-American, is ranked No. 206 in singles and No. 92 in doubles. Like Smith, he has played satellite events. Knowles' first ATP Tour match was this week after he qualified for the main draw at Washington. Knowles beat fifth-seeded Alexander Volkov of Russia, 6-3, 6-3, Wednesday in a second-round match.

"I will continue never to take a team lightly in Davis Cup," Gorman said. "But we have a very, very competitive team."

Agassi is ranked No. 21 and Washington No. 16 in singles; McEnroe is ranked No. 3 and Reneberg No. 5 in doubles.

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