Going into Spain on the red clay and coming out with a win is a huge test for any country, much less the injury-plagued U.S. squad this weekend.
Coming on the heels of James Blake’s sitting out due to physical and mental exhaustion, now the U.S. team has lost the services of Bob Bryan, who has withdrawn from the tie citing an aggravated shoulder injury. He will be replaced by Mardy Fish, who is expected to team with Mike Bryan in doubles.
“I aggravated it pretty bad at the Open and only made things worse,” said the left-handed Bob, who received a cortisone shot prior to the US Open. “I knew if I wanted a chance to play the rest of this year, I had to shut it down now. I can’t even hit any balls.”
Fish has a 1-1 career Davis Cup doubles record, both matches partnering with Blake. Earlier this year he won the Newport doubles title on grass with countryman and fellow Tampa-area resident John Isner.
Roddick and Sam Querrey will draw singles duties for the U.S. against world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 6-ranked David Ferrer in what would be a miracle upset for the Americans. Nadal will be at home in Madrid’s Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas stadium, usually reserved for bullfighting.
As if the Spaniard needed extra motivation.
“It is going to be an unforgettable experience to play in an arena like Las Ventas,” Nadal told the media. “It is special to play at home and more so in a place like this. It’s true that I’ve had an intense season, but to play at home against the United States in a Davis Cup semifinal is an extra motivation for me.”
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