U.S. Davis Cup Hopes Rest with Roddick Against Russia
by Sean Randall | November 30th, 2007, 12:07 pm

The Davis Cup final between the US and Russia gets under way later today in Portland, Oregon. Leading the way for the American team are familiar faces Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan twins, Bob and Mike. The underdog Russians will be without the services of Marat Safin, who ended his season in a month ago, but the squad remains powerful with Nikolay Davydenko, Dmitry Tursunov, Igor Andreev, Mikhail Youhzny and of course head coach Shamil Tarpischev. ADHEREL

I know Roddick takes a lot a heat in the press, on message boards, from fans and even from me, some of it deserving. However, I believe in Roddick and I respect his focus and his ability to win big matches in Davis Cup competition, and that’s why I’ll take the US to bring home the Davis Cup trophy back to America for the first time since 1995, when Pete Sampras won it for the U.S.

The US will also be aided by the Bryan twins who I fully expect to win their doubles match on Saturday, which might even be the clincher depending on how things play out today.

Before the twins, the tie opens 1pm pacific time today (live on Versus TV in the U.S., replay on the Tennis Channel) with Roddick facing Tursunov followed by Blake and Youzhny.

On any other stage Roddick versus Tursunov is a tough matchup to call. The two played a memorable match a year ago in the Davis Cup semis where Dmitry won a five set nailbiter. And pound-for-pound, Dmitry’s the better all-around player. But today I give Roddick the slight edge because he’s at home and he’ll be playing the crowd, strutting his usual stuff and trying to intimidate Tursunov, all of which really shouldn’t faze Dmitry but you never know. Dmitry does reside in northern California so maybe he’ll get some support.

If Roddick drops the opening match, all bets are off on an American victory. In my mind Roddick needs to win both matches for Team US to pull this thing out. Why? Because I just don’t trust Blake in a high stakes showdown such as this. Blake has enjoyed a lot of success in Davis Cup rubbers on Sunday, winning by my count, eight of nine completed matches. Unfortunately for Blake all eight of those wins came in dead rubbers. In fact, Blake’s just 4-7 in live singles matches in his career, defeating Leander Paes, Tommy Robredo, Mario Ancic and Victor Hanescu in matches that count. And lest we forget James isn’t exactly a pillar of strength when under the gun.

Coaching decisions might also play a role in this one. Unlike US captain Patrick McEnroe, who’s only major decision is seemingly who’ll be on the practice team, Tarpischev likes to get hands dirty. He’ll make last minute substitutions, jumble the line-up, change the team uniforms, fly in Yevgeny Kafelnikov to eat any leftovers and even poison opponents when necessary. The guy attacks Davis Cup ties as if they were chess matches.

Already Tarpischev has benched the No. 4 ranked Davydenko in singles, leaving him to partner with Andreev for the doubles slaughter. Smart move? I think so. And if Russia can push to it to a fifth rubber it’s anyone’s guess as to who Tarpischev will tab to face Blake in the finale. Safin? Kafelnikov? Maria Sharapova? Anna Kournikova? Himself? Hell, I’d even fly in Sveta for that one.

But again, I think Roddick will bail this team out, pull out a win over Tursunov Friday and clinch the tie with a victory on Sunday. So I’ll stick with the U.S., which is 5-0 in home Davis Cup finals, to pull it out 4-1.

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10 Comments for U.S. Davis Cup Hopes Rest with Roddick Against Russia

allcourt Says:

It’s going to be the USA winning 3-2 (or 4-1) with Blake winning his most important live singles rubber tonight and Mike and Bob playing the dead rubbers on Sunday. Bet on it! :)

Rowan Says:

I like it when the Bryan brothers play singles matches in the dead rubbers. Always neat to see some tag team specialists have a go at singles competition.

jane Says:

Good for Andy and James; they deserve it. The Bryans should finish the Davis Cup quest tomorrow and end the US’s long drought, at home no less.

jane Says:

I like reading Roddick’s interviews; he’s insightful and honest, not to mention funny and self-deprecating.

Anyhow, the following comment, in which Roddick addresses having some lead time to think about and prepare for the Davis Cup final, is an interesting one, in light of Roddick’s recent fine for pulling out of the Paris Masters, in light of players (young ones) burning out at the end of the year (see who’s in the trunk), in light of injuries (again, see who’s in the trunk):

“But it’s advantageous. Kind of I knew what I had to do. I knew what I had to do to be healthy. I knew what I had to do to be in shape. You actually had enough time to plan it out. Just think how well everyone would play if we had an off-season. You say, What’s that like? That’s actually normal in most sports, right?
So, you know, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being able to at least know what was ahead of me and actually plan a little bit.”

On one hand (selfish one) I love tennis and hate missing it for the ONE MONTH the players don’t play, but on the other hand, it seems to me players need a little more of an off season. If they had it, they’d have more time to chill, to train, to strategize, and in the end, it might be better for everyone – fans included.

grendel Says:

Yes, Roddick is good value in his interviews, often funny and not necessarily in a self-deprecating way. To one hapless journalist who had asked if Roddick was concerned about having only won one grand slam, the American instantly snapped:”Why, how many have you won?”

Ian G Says:

Here’s Portland alt-weekly Willamette Week’s blog coverage from the Davis Cup:


Roddick: “Portland is not like Moscow!”


jane Says:

Thanks Ian G. Since there is no televised action of the match in Canada (today TSN is showing horse-jumping and women’s bowling championships instead, that is, until hockey starts), I’ve been relying on you tube, blogs, interviews and the like.

Found this comment in response to a journalist’s article on “sportingo.com” about Roddick not living up to his potential:

“Roddick is the only player other than Federer who has managed to stay in the top ten for the past five years. Everybody else, all those players who are arguably more naturally talented than he of the big serve, have long ago dropped out and off the planet. Flukes and non talents usually don’t hang around the top of anything for very long. To say that Roddick is nothing but a serve shows your lack of expertise, knowledge, and understanding of the sport of tennis.”

And no grendel, Roddick is not always self-deprecating, but he can be, and he can also be cocky and modest and, frankly, the full gamut, but he’s nothing if not honest and hard working: a good ole boy, you might say. He’s certainly been doing Americans proud in his efforts for a Davis Cup victory; that’s why he deserves it.

I'm just saying Says:

I dont know why the media is always so down on Roddick for winning one slam. At least he has one. Neither Davydenko, Ferrer, or Djokovic have a slam to their name and they are all ranked higher than Roddick. How come nobody asks them why they dont have one? Other than Federer and Nadal who else has been winning slams for the past three years?

Oh and congratulations to the USA on their Davis Cup win! Tennis-X will not be happy about this news.

Von Says:

No one deserves that Davis Cup win more than Andy. He has given it his all. I would say that the Davis Cup win means more to Andy than a grand slam. He is a true red, white and blue guy. It is very unfair that he is pounced on and ridiculed by the public for not winning more than one grand slam. I hope he does win another, but if he doesn’t, no big deal. He’s been in the top 10 for the past 5 years — that says something for his stability. His game has improved tremendously since working with Connors. In my opinion he could use some positive reinforcement instead of criticism. Except for Nadal and Federer, Andy is the only other player that has won a slam, also, among the current American players, he’s the only one in the top 10 and has a grand slam, why not give them some heat.

American Tennis is truly blessed to have this young man represent our Country!

Von Says:

I don’t know from where the writer gets his information:

“On any other stage Roddick versus Tursunov is a tough matchup to call. The two played a memorable match a year ago in the Davis Cup semis where Dmitry won a five set nailbiter. And pound-for-pound, Dmitry’s the better all-around player.”

Roddick is 3-1 against Tursunov. The match that Tursunov won in the Davis Cup semis was 17-15 in the 5th set and it was on clay.

Give credit where it’s due. Has Tursunov ever been in the top 10? Has he ever won a Masters tournament or a grand slam. No. How could he be better than Roddick?

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