I don’t think I understand Davis Cup too much better now than I did before this weekend. How did these teams get tied with each other in the first place? What ring of hell do Roger and his countrymen fall into now that they’ve Czech-ed out of the World Group? Why is it called carpet if it’s neither soft nor fuzzy? I could go batty trying to sort it all out.
But who cares? The entire competition defies logic, anyway. The one thing I have learned – Davis Cup is unpredictable, subject to bizarre coincidences, and dripping with drama. It’s like watching one of those crazy Japanese variety shows – I can’t understand a thing, but it’s still wildly entertaining.
Here are some of my strangest observations from the weekend:
1. Ivan Ljubicic gets kidney stones, British keep cuticles (explaining the warm send-off Henman received at the end.)
2. Tommy Haas loses his lunch, pulls out of his fourth rubber against Davydenko and clears the path for the Russians to make it into the finals. It’s official, Tommy is the unluckiest man in tennis.
3. Davydenko is mojo-proof. He bails on the same rubber for roughly the same reason as Tommy, yet his team suffers no “ill” effects. His immunity to all things mojo may also explain his subdued reaction to those match-fixing allegations. Get thee back, Betfair!
4. Dudi Sela, ranked 109 in the world, earns two of the three points for his team by winning both of his singles matches – clinching it for Israel with a five-set victory over No. 6 in the world, Fernando Gonzalez. Talk about chosen people.
5. Roddick – we all know what happened to his mojo. But he cashes in on the past three seasons and scores big-time for the USA, shaking off the Scandinavium heebie jeebies to boot. Is this “all-in” strategy just fueling his mojo’s sadistic streak? I guess we’ll see in San Diego (hint, hint, USTA!)
6. Mojo or Maalox? Am I over-thinking all of this? Add Lleyton Hewitt to the lengthy list of players suddenly out on sick leave during Davis Cup.
7. You can’t blame Roger for the Swiss spiraling out of the World Group – at least he won his singles matches. I do think you can blame Wawrinka a little bit. But really, most of the responsibility falls onto Martina Hingis. Breaking the “Curse of Chucky” has obviously done wonders for Stepanek’s mojo rating.
8. Shamil Tarpischev = Mr. Mojo? Nope, he’s just damn smart when it comes to tennis. I agree with Steve Tignor’s take – the dude knows his players and he knows his surfaces. (antonym – Wilander – n.)
9. The Tennis Channel must get their broadcast feed from some guy sitting three rows back with a Sony hand held. Why? Because it looks like s#*t!
10. You don’t even need to watch the tennis to enjoy the Davis Cup drama. In fact, it might be better not to (see No. 9).
11. Just wondering: IS IT THE OFF-SEASON YET? I’m getting tired just thinking about Bangkok.