I know we’re still basking in the glow of Roger’s U.S. Open victory, but I just read some interesting news about our sport’s next big event, the Davis Cup semifinals and world group play-offs this September 19-21.
Reports say that Sam Querrey is taking James Blake’s place when the U.S. faces Spain in the semis on outdoor clay in Madrid. As recently as last Thursday, team captain P. Mac was naming Blake as the fourth member of the team. It’s unclear why the switch was made. At first I thought it might be Sam’s tough four-setter against Rafa at this year’s U.S. Open – one of the best matches of the tournament. But then I remembered that James has beaten Rafa a couple times. So who knows? U.S. D-Cup stalwarts, Andy Roddick and the Bryan brothers are also on the official nomination list released by the ITF.
For more Davis Cup excitement, including info on the other, more competitive, semi-final, click on the “Read More” link below. . .
The big hype here is USA vs. Spain, even though with Rafa playing on clay in front of a home crowd there is virutally no hope for the Americans. Spain also has Ferrer, Verdasco and Lopez, who could all do well on U.S. hard courts as well. But don’t forget the other semi-final which pits Russia against Argentina in Buenos Aires . Both teams have amazing line-ups. Argentina has D-cup warrior David Nalbandian, hottest-player-on-the-tour Juan Martin del Potro, hottie-hot-hottie Juan Monaco and badass backboard Guillermo Canas. Russia has a solid line up including good ol’ Kolya Davydenko, Igor “I-took-Roger-to-5-sets” Andreev, Dmitry Tursunov and Igor Kunitsyn. I saw Kunitsyn and Marat Safin play some great doubles together in L.A. this summer, so it’s a shame that Safin’s not on the team. But I know better than to ever second-guess the schemes of team captain Shamil Tarpischev.
Of course I would like the U.S.A. to win again, but I’m too realistic. I think the final’s going to be between Spain and Argentina, given skill level and home-court advantage. At least we’ll have one heck of a final! And if Rafa wins the Davis Cup for Spain this year, he’s gotta get props for one of the all time best years in the history of the sport. Laureus Sportsman here we come!
Highlights of the World Group Playoffs (i.e. the stuff we won’t see on Tennis Channel) include Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka leading the Swiss team against the Belgians on indoor hardcourts in Lausanne and the British team led by the Murray brothers against Austria on grass courts at Wimbledon. It will be fun to see some grass court action in September and look out for a rematch of Melzer vs. A. Murray, who played a tight five-setter at the U.S. Open last week.
So take a deep breath and get ready for yet more great tennis! Are you fan-enough?
***UPDATE*** Just read Pete Bodo’s take. James Blake is out with “exhaustion.” Click here for more.