PRAGUE: Defending champion Czech Republic will play without Tomas Berdych against Japan next month in the Davis Cup quarterfinals.
The seventh-ranked Berdych wants to focus on the ATP Tour after helping the Czechs beat the Netherlands in the first round.
Seeking their third straight Davis Cup title, the Czechs will rely again on veteran Radek Stepanek.
Stepanek and Berdych teamed up to beat Spain 3-2 in the 2012 final and did the same in Belgrade in November, when they beat Serbia 3-2 to retain the title.
Lukas Rosol, Jiri Vesely and Jan Hajek are also in the Czech squad, which was announced Tuesday for the April 4-6 series on an indoor hard court in Tokyo.