“(Andy) Roddick and (James) Blake have both decided to leave Davis Cup off their 2010 schedules,” reports Peter Bodo of Tennis.com:
“It certainly appears to be the end of era,” U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe told TENNIS Thursday. “But the door will always remain open to both of those guys in the event they decide they want to play again.”
Both players made their DC debut in 2001. Since then, Roddick and/or Blake have represented the U.S. in each of its last 25 Davis Cup ties.
Sam Querrey and John Isner are top candidates to replace the two veterans, with Mardy Fish also “high on McEnroe’s list” of candidates. The Bryan Brothers are still on board. Team USA will play it’s first round tie on clay in Serbia this March.
Team Serbia’s Novak Djokovic was already feeling good before this news, recently telling daviscup.com “The last two years we’ve had a very bad draw. But this year we are playing at home and, even though we are playing the most successful nation in Davis Cup competition, we are confident we can make a good result.” Well, I bet he’s even more confident now. Serbia has won their last three ties at home.
I’m assuming that both guys are entering the “saving it for the Majors” zone. Like Roger Federer, who also announced his upcoming non-participation against Team Spain, the prospect of playing away, on clay, against tough competition, right before Indian Wells and Miami is probably not that appealing. James is likely still hurting from those nightmare five setters against Croatia last year.
Yes, these guys have earned a break, but like I said about Roger, I think their withdrawals are a real blow for Davis Cup and its status as an elite international event. Perhaps a once every two years format would allow for a more robust field.
Both Americans are in action this week in Brisbane. Blake just lost a “thrilling” quarterfinal, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, to Gael Monfils. Andy Roddick plays on Friday evening. They’ve also paired up for the doubles - Blake/Roddick will play Chardy/Gicquel in the semifinals.