Well the upcoming US-Russia Davis Cup final in December just got a whole lot more interesting. Going in and it looked like a 4-1 US victory to me. I know Andy Roddick gets a lot of heat, but the guy in my mind is a big match player, and one who rarely loses to people he isn’t suppose to. Add a win by the Bryan brothers and maybe one by James Blake and the US was my pick to beat Russia.
I’m not so sure of that anymore.
In addition to having Igor Andreev, Dmitry Tursunov, Nikolay Davydenko and mafia muscle at the ready, looks like Russia’s added a mad scientist to the team.
That based on reports that in Russia’s win over Germany in the Davis cup semifinals, Tommy Haas claims he was poisoned by Russia forcing him to the bench in the deciding fifth rubber. How screwed up is that?
According to German team member Alexander Waske, A Russian told him of the poisoning. “He said as an aside that it was bitter that Tommy Haas was poisoned,” said Waske, who answered the man by saying that it was a virus. “Thereupon he said, ‘No, they poisoned him.’”
Great. I guess the ol’ slip-the-poison-in-the-drink trick is still being used. And in tennis!
Added Haas: “I was the only one ever to order dessert or a Latte macchiato after dinner. If all this is true, since no one else got sick, that must have been when it happened.”
The ITF says they are now “investigating” the matter. Good luck.
What I can’t understand is why Russia even bothered to poison Tommy Haas’s drink. Let’s face it, in a fourth rubber with a chance to clinch in an away match, there is a 50% chance that Haas will come down with some debilitating ailment and pull out on his own. The guy’s not the most rugged player is he? A bee sting, an allergy, a headache, runny nose, sore throat, you name but something would have forced him out anyway. Bad luck just follows that guy.
But maybe Russia was just testing to see if the poisoned cocktail trick would work. And based on what Haas says, it does, and now Russia has one more weapon to use against the United States next month. Plus, I’m sure they are fully aware of Andy Roddick’s weak stomach – see Taco Bell at Indianapolis.
With all that, If I were US coach Patrick McEnroe I’d be building a fortress right now around the US player hotel and practice facility in Portland. And keep the desserts and the lattes off the menus.
And just how good is tennis looking these days? Grand slam champions hitting the white powder, betting scandals, guys tanking matches, chair umpires dishing out serving advice and now poisoning. Has tennis ever been more relevant in the mainstream media? It’s like a real sport now. When I read that Serena Williams withdrew from Madrid with an injury this morning I half expected the reason was because Yuri Sharapova took a tire iron to Serena’s knee. hEll, maybe he did…
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