Here’s our regular Tracksuit Tribute to Davis Cup. Oh, and I’ve included the draws and some “analysis”, in case anyone’s interested!
2010 DAVIS CUP WORLD GROUP FIRST ROUND TIES
USA VS. SERBIA at Serbia (indoor red clay)
REUTERS/Ivan Milutinovic via Daylife
I’m calling this the most intriguing tie of the weekend, with Novak Djokovic leading a strong team at home, and a couple of near Davis Cup rookies traveling to Belgrade for Team USA. Good thing the neophytes are Sam Querrey (second time playing DC) and John Isner (making his DC debut), who are both enjoying strong seasons so far. The Bryan Brothers don’t enjoy their usual doubles advantage against doubles power Nenad Zimonjic, who is teaming up with Janko Tipsarevic. Yes, Serbia has the edge, but the Americans are going to make it edgy for them in Belgrade.
Viktor Troicki (SRB) v John Isner (USA)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Sam Querrey (USA)
Janko Tipsarevic/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) v Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v John Isner (USA)
Viktor Troicki (SRB) v Sam Querrey (USA)
CHILE vs. ISRAEL at Chile (outdoor clay)
No photos yet, but this one is representative of what might happen this weekend:
REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado via Daylife
Perhaps not the most intriguing from a pure match-up standpoint, but this weekend’s Chile vs. Israel tie on the outdoor red clay of Coquimbo, is the most important tie of the weekend. The resort venue was unharmed by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that has ravaged much of the country, allowing for Davis Cup play to be postponed by only one day. Team Israel should be commended for making its way despite travel difficulties and of course, Team Chile is hoping to inspire their struggling nation with a win. Here’s Gonzo:
“We will play to try to win to create some happiness for our country, for our people, in these difficult times”
Take that, Davis Cup doubters!
Speaking of Davis Cup doubters, click here for FRANCE vs. GERMANY
SPAIN VS. SWITZERLAND at Spain (indoor red clay)
Photo AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos via Daylife
We really had something going here, until both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal pulled out. Fernando Verdasco and Juan Carlos Ferrero also withdrew due to injury. But we still have some good matches, due to an oceanic-deep Spanish bench and the mercurial talents of new dad Stan Wawrinka (he hasn’t played in nearly 6 weeks due to the birth of his daughter, Alexia, on February 12th) and the ATP’s comeback kid, Marco Chiudinelli. The first match of Almagro vs. Wawrinka will be a real treat for members of the One-Hander Fanclub.
Ah, Roger would look great in this.
Nicolas Almagro (ESP) v Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
David Ferrer (ESP) v Marco Chiudinelli (SUI)
Marcel Granollers/Tommy Robredo (ESP) v Yves Allegro/Stansilas Wawrinka (ESP)
David Ferrer (ESP) v Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
Nicolas Almagro (ESP) v Marco Chiudinelli (SUI)
RUSSIA VS. INDIA at Russia (indoor hard court)
Nikolay Davydenko’s out with injury, and Igor Andreev was summoned to Moscow as a last minute substitute. And you don’t say no to Shamil:
“I was thinking of staying over there (North America) to continue practicing for Indian Wells, but I got the call, and am more than happy to play for the Russians,” explained Andreev.
I guess this is what “more than happy” looks like in Russian:
Photographer: Golovanov/Kivrin via DavisCup.com
Now these guys are really happy: this is Team India’s first time playing in the World Group in 12 years!
Igor Andreev (RUS) v Somdev Devvarman (IND)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) v Rohan Bopanna (IND)
Teimuraz Gabashvili/Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) v Mahesh Bhupathi/Leander Paes (IND)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) v Somdev Devvarman (IND)
Igor Andreev (RUS) v Rohan Bopanna (IND)
ARGENTINA VS. SWEDEN at Sweden (indoor hard courts)
Here he comes to save the day! Mighty Nalby’s on his way! David Nalbandian (coming off yet another injury) has flown to Sweden to maybe, possibly play this weekend. (He’s not in the draw but I’m thinking a substitution is more than likely). Desperate times require desperate measures for the Argentines, who are missing both Juan Martin Del Potro and Juan Monaco due to injuries. Here’s hoping he and Robin Soderling meet – just to send the bad ass dial spinning in Stockholm.
Robin Soderling (SWE) v Eduardo Schwank (ARG)
Joachim Johansson (SWE) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Robert Lindstedt/Robin Soderling (SWE) v Leonardo Mayer/Horacio Zeballos (ARG)
Robin Soderling (SWE) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Joachim Johansson (SWE) v Eduardo Schwank (ARG)
ECUADOR VS. CROATIA at Croatia (indoor hard courts)
Okay, whenever Dr. Ivo is involved, there must be a photo like this:
Photographer: Daniel Maurer via DavisCup.com
Some interesting stuff you might not know – Nicolas Lapentti has a perfect record (2-0) against Cilic and Karlovic. According to the ATP website, he’s been a member of the Davis Cup team since 1992 and is 61-32 (41-15 in singles) in 37 ties. He also has a brother named Giovanni who is ranked 222 in the world, lives in Miami and apparently plays Davis Cup. (More Lapentti factoids: he’s dated Anna Kournikova, he was ranked as high as No. 6 in the world in 1999 when he also made it to the semifinals of the Australian Open, he’s the nephew of French Open champ Andres Gomez, his mother is a former Miss Ecuador.)
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) v Nicolas Lapentti (ECU)
Marin Cilic (CRO) v Giovanni Lapentti (ECU)
Ivan Dodig/Antonio Veic (CRO) v Nicolas Lapentti/Giovanni Lapentti (ECU)
Marin Cilic (CRO) v Nicolas Lapentti (ECU)
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) v Giovanni Lapentti (ECU)
BELGIUM vs. CZECH REPUBLIC at Belgium (indoor clay)
Honestly, I almost forgot about this one. Anyway, whenever Olivier Rochus is involved, there will be a photo like this:
Photographer: Imagellan via DavisCup.com
Olivier Rochus (BEL) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Xavier Malisse (BEL) v Radek Stepanek (CZE)
Steve Darcis/Olivier Rochus (BEL) v Lukas Dlouhy/Jan Hajek (CZE)
Olivier Rochus (BEL) v Radek Stepanek (CZE)
Xavier Malisse (BEL) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)