Can Davydenko Return the Davis Cup to Russia?
by Sean Randall | March 4th, 2010, 9:25 pm
  • 99 Comments

It’s time to talk some Davis Cup again. The first of four rounds of this 2010 Davis Cup tennis calendar begins tomorrow with eight ties in total on tap. So with that, here are some thoughts and predictions for the weekend and the remainder of the year.

Without Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the Spain-Switzerland tie has lost a lot of zing. But even had the top stars played I think on clay the outcome would still have been the same with the Spaniards winning at home on their favorite dirt.

USA-Serbia also had some extra flavor to it until both Andy Roddick and James Blake decided to pass on the Davis Cup for 2010. On the clay, Serbia with Novak Djokovic gets the edge but the U.S. will still be a tough out. When you have two monsters like Big John Isner and Sam Querrey blasting serves anything can happen irrespective of surface.

So I expect tight sets the whole weekend and if Isner can crack Victor Troicki in the opener tomorrow that would put Novak under serious pressure to beat Sam, otherwise the Bryans could seal the upset win on Saturday. And we know Novak can get real shaky when the heat is on. But I still like Serbia to pull through. Novak can’t afford losing to USA’s “B” team at home.

Argentina is also hurting against Sweden. Juan Martin Del Potro is out with a wrist and David Nalbandian has a bad something or other. All that spells trouble against the home favorite Swedes who are led by Robin Soderling and the return of Pim Pim, Joachim Johansson. On the fast court, indoors, I’ll take the Sweden.

Also, France is at home against the Germans. With JW Tsonga and Gael Monfils they should win out over the Tommy Haas-less Germans. I like Russia over India, Croatia at home over Ecuador, Czech Republic to beat the homestanding Belgians and in the sentimental showdown, I think Chile rallies for the country to beat Israel in a tie that begins a day late on Saturday because of the earthquake.

So for the quarterfinals in July, I see Spain at France, Russia at Sweden, Croatia v. Serbia and Czech Republic at Chile. What a great bunch of matchups if they do come to pass. And at this moment each one is incredible difficult to call! But, I think Nadal is healthy again in the summer and the French get a little nervous so I’m going to pick Spain. I’ll take a deeper Russian team over Sweden and the Czechs get the job done over Chile.

Since Croatia and Serbia have never met in Davis Cup, I believe it’s a coin flip to decide where that tie is played. The matchups are pretty even so it comes down to nerves and I think Novak is more likely to feel the pressure than Marin Cilic. Therefore I’ll take the Croats.

In the semifinals in September, I’ve now got Spain at Russia, Croatia at Czech Republic. With Nikolay Davydenko and Mikhail Youhzny playing indoors on a fast court I think that’s too much for Spain and Nadal to overcome. Plus, Nadal’s body may be already breaking down again at that point. In the other semifinal, in the big moments Berdych just doesn’t impress me much so somehow I think Croatia wins that one with Cilic and Dr. Ivo and not much of a doubles team.

That leaves my final as Croatia at Russia in a pretty even match up. The edge goes to the home Russians and I like them to finish on top with Davydenko, who like he did in 2009, coming strong again at the end of the year.

Of course a lot does depend on injuries, but based on matchups Russia would be home in three of four matches, which is a huge edge. If Nadal can return to 100% he and Verdasco could very well run the table, especially if Davydenko is ailing in September.

Serbia with Djokovic really have a great chance. I’m just not sold on Novak being mentally and physically able to shoulder the load in the later rounds.

And if Argentina can somehow scrap through Sweden they could easily become a force should Del Potro and Nalbandian be healthy. But then again, once thing we’ve learned already two months into the new season is that healthy players are in short supply.

Let the games begin!

For those in the U.S., Serbia and USA will live on the Tennis Channel TV at 10am Eastern.


Also Check Out:
What’s Not on Live TV: Tursunov Beats Roddick to Clinch Russian Davis Cup Win
Nadal Leads Spain Against U.S. in Davis Cup; Del Potro, Argentina Host Russia
Davis Cup Final Going Down to the Wire; Just No TV, No Canas
Poisoning Gives Russia the Edge Against US in Davis Cup Final
2012 Davis Cup Draw: US Travels to Switzerland, Spain the Favorites Again?

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99 Comments for Can Davydenko Return the Davis Cup to Russia?

ben Says:

Russia’s playing Andreev instead of Davydekno, so this is kind of moot.


Sean Randall Says:

Moot for this weekend but not for the year.

Troicki doing his best to avoid a choke job. Victor was had three break points on Isner’s serve to go up two breaks in the third, but John held then broke Troicki. Things are getting interesting.


Sean Randall Says:

Troicki gets the break and gets the third set. Match in hand for Serbia.

Elsewhere, only interesting results was Wawrinka’s five-set win over Almagro to give the Swiss the early lead. And now Ferrer is down a break in the second to Chiudenelli. Ferrer won the first.


jane Says:

Not a bad showing by Isner, considering it is a clay tie and he could only hit 8 aces. But Troicki was able to get the breaks, and that made all the difference in the end.

Sam and Novak should be an interesting match up. I believe they’ve played a tight set on clay, and that was when Novak was in better form (i.e. his serve was functioning).


Sean Randall Says:

Novak up two sets. Looks like Serbia will get through Sunday. I like the Bryans to win tomorrow then Novak ends it beating Isner on Sunday.


jane Says:

Sam just couldn’t take that second set: he had a number of chances, at least 3 set points, but in the end, he didn’t make the most of the break chances. His errors made the difference. Otherwise, a very tightly contested and interesting set.

Well, it’s not over till it’s over. And Novak’s still upchunking the doubles. Ugh.


jane Says:

Great fight by Sam but Novak wasn’t going down today. Although after that abysmal 3rd set, I was beginning to wonder. : /

Even though Isner and Querrey lost today, they both put in valiant efforts on clay away from home. Sam especially, imo. You sensed with a little more belief and experience he’d have a decent chance and that’s what P-Mac should take away from this.

Agree with you Sean that the Bryans will likely win the double tie. Zjimonic is great but he doesn’t have Nestor.


Duro Says:

I am very interested in Serbian doubles to win tomorrow, but only because of the possibility which would be in that case given to Novak not to play Sunday match and give somebody else the opportunity. There’s IW ahead of him; he desperately needs some more rest, and clay won’t help him by any mean. Plus, I place my 100 Euros bet on Novak to win IW. LLTK must be rubbing his hands…


Sean Randall Says:

The Bryans best surface is clay so even if Novak plays the US is still the favorites to win that match. However if Novak and Troicki play then maybe the can finish it Saturday. Although, imagine if Novak gets injured is a loss tomorrow. Why risk it when I would say Novak beating Isner is a good bet.


sar Says:

Zimonjic needs Nestor but anything’s possible.
What about a possible croatia serbia encounter?
Cilic Karlovic Djokovic Troicki?


Kimmi Says:

This was a tall order for the US team. maybe Sam has a chance against Troicki..if brothers win tomorrow, which match will play first on Sunday ?


Kimmi Says:

I stumbled into this article today and thought it is interesting.

BLOG – Novak’s kind of town.

http://www.daviscup.com/news/newsarticle.asp?articleid=16874


Long Live The King Says:

@Duro :

congrats on novak’s dubai win :) i actually wanted him to win dubai, since his record in back to back tourneys is bad (i agree last time he won a title, he won 2 and that he defended the dubai title) but i have my novak voodoo doll handy, just in case he starts to threaten a victory march at IW.

i am breathing a little easy now that rafa has said he will play IW. i am hoping RF will start breathing easy too. and roddick and murray.

anyone but novak for IW ;)


sar Says:

Too funny Kimmi.


jane Says:

Kimmi, LOL on that article. I guess there are a few ways to look at that: 1) I can’t help thinking it would add a little pressure when you’re that highly regarded!, 2) It must be a little uncanny being Novak and having all that stuff everywhere, especially when he’s a rather self-deprecating person, 3) Rather savvy and ubiquitous marketing by the Serbs, yes? and 4) It’s wonderful that one person can bring so much pride to a country and so much interest in that country to tennis. This last view, of course, is the least cynical way to view the branding of “Novak”, I suppose, and thus, I’ll stop there. : )

sar, I can never put the “j” in Zimonjic’s name in the right place! I also get the “j” in Kim Clijster’s name in the wrong spot a lot of the time. Sigh. Anyhow, good luck to Zim and Tipsy in the doubles; they have a HUGE task in trying to beat the Bryans.


madmax Says:

duro, good luck to novak in the tournament tomorrow, you must be thrilled with his progress right now.


Andrew Miller Says:

Why not play Tipsy and Zemo. They can beat the Bryans.


sar Says:

Jane, I met Nestor and Z and had a photo taken with them. They were just coming off the practice courts and were sweaty and tired but they still posed.They are huge men. I am 5’9 and felt really short. I like the Bryans too. Lots of nice, nice players.


jane Says:

sar, lucky you. One day I’ll finally get to see some live tennis; either this summer in LA, or next summer in Toronto. That’s what I hope, anyhow. I hope you keep us posted on things at IW.


Tom Gainey Says:

Both guys did gets sets so even though Sam and John lost at least they fought hard which is good to see.


Kimmi Says:

Jane: I actually found the article very funny, she must be a comedian LOL .. but I can understand..It’s not everytime a country like Serbia gets someone as talented as Novak. Let them cherish him..

The only down side I can think off (like you) is a little distraction, maybe too much pressure..but I think he has dealt with all this very well so far…the only big pressure left is to win the Serbian Open, year after year..home fans will probably cry if he lose at home. Novak should looks up to Federer, this is someone who has dealt with immense pressure very well.


OllyK Says:

First of all I want to cogratulate to all Serbs and Serbian fans for yesterdays wins. :) Thank you, Viktor, thank you, Nole, you made us proud!!
I was there for all 8 hours..wow, it wasn’t easy just to sit there and watch and I can’t imagine how tough it was for our guys to give their best on court. I am a little bit angry on ppl who where there. Most of them left stands when result was 2:0 for Nole..I know, they had last buses to catch, they haven’t eaten anything whole day, thought that Nole would win in 3 sets and there was no need to stay any longer, but really…we don’t have chance to watch our CHAMP play every day!! We have to show some appreciation for what he is doing for Serbia. None except him and Soderling from top 10 guys is playing Davis cup this week!! He has a really big heart.. And he was frustrated in 3rd set when he saw almost empty stands and I believe that is why he lost it. And he said in his post match interview that he couldn’t believe people left and he looked like he was going to cry..well, Nole, let me introduce you to Serbia!! Really sad!
I hope it will be better today and tomorrow! I will be there again in my “I love Serbia” shirt cheering with all my heart! These guys really deserved it!
And, congrats to Isner and Querrey, they were very good. Much better than I expected them to be on clay.
Go, Serbia, go Ziki and Janko!


Kimmi Says:

Ollyk, I read somewhere that the stadium takes 20,000 spectators? was the stadium full in the beginning? But thanks for that behind the seen info..its interesting to know. It looks like most of those spectator don’t follow tennis much..I thought Querrey could be dangerous.maybe not so on clay but hard courts he has improved so much!


Kimmi Says:

“None except him and Soderling from top 10 guys is playing Davis cup this week!!”

By the way Ollyk..Cilic and Gonzalez are both playing and a lot others pull out because of injury, a decision beyong their contol.

I still don’t understand chile v islael is still going ahead with the play..Chile had massive aftershock yesteday 6.6 mgnitude. amazing..ITF is faced with a very difficult decision here, they should postpone this.


OllyK Says:

Kimmi, yes, sorry, I forgot Cilic,:( and I didn’t know that Gonzales is in top 10 now..my mistake!!
Arena wasn’t full, unfortunately..At the opening ceremony it was 1/3 full, and at he beginning of Noles match half full, I’d say..I hope it’ll be better today and tomorrow cause it’s a weekend, ppl will have more free time to spend on tennis.
And most of spectators here don’t have tennis culture, that’s sad but true. Talking and cheering during points..whistling on the 2nd serve of USA guys..screaming during match point: “Come on, Noole, nooow, finish that!!” They were acting like they were in front of TV!! Ah, well, they’ll learn eventually, I think. And I want to thank both Isner and Querrey for not making any fuss about it. Very kind of them.


madmax Says:

Ollyk! you are so lucky to be watching all these tennis matches! really, I am so jealous! good luck to your novak tomorrow in the doubles. I am looking into getting tickets to Roland Garros in May, so if you are around….?


Duro Says:

Maxi, thanks. You’re sweet. Didn’t I tell you not to worry about your Maestro and IW? Relax. See you in the finals. 2-1, my boy.

Does anybody know why is 1 Brian missing???


Sean Randall Says:

Food poising got the better of Mike. USA grabs the first set.


Kimmi Says:

Food poisoning..WOW! Now Isner with Bob..hmmm! it now matches well with Zimonjic and Tipsa both Bob and Zim dont have their proper partner.

It will be interesting to see how this one goes, 1st set to USA!


Kimmi Says:

Zim and Tipsa took 2nd set


Sean Randall Says:

Strange finish to third set. With the US serving down set point at 5-6 Tisparevic hit a return winner to win the set, but since Zimonjic called Bryan’s serve out (for some reason he made the motion it was out) the point went to the Americans under the hindrance rule.

Had Nenad kept his mouth shut Serbia would be leading 2-1. Amazing momentum swing now.


Sean Randall Says:

Nenad completely rattled by his mistimed attempt at playing linesman.

He gets broken to lose the third set and now just got broken in the fourth.

Looks like we’ll have live tennis on Sunday with Novak v. Isner. Though I wonder if Isner will feel any fatigue after today’s doubles.


Sean Randall Says:

Nenad collapse complete, he gets broken AGAIN to lose the match. Nice job by the US to scrape a point with Isner playing substitute.


Kimmi Says:

Sean, amazing that one point in the tiebreak 3rd set made a huge difference to the match. Congrats to the USA team for at least getting a one point score. I dont think they will win though….So Isner playing Novak next match sunday?


Kimmi Says:

Strange that Zimonjic would collapse like that. he is a top doubles player who has experience in a lot of close/controversial matches..Strange indeed.


margot Says:

OllyK: gr8 to have your first hand report from the matches. I got v. close to Djko at O2, saw him on practise court and playing Rafa.
sar: enjoy IW, am very envious not just for the tennis either! Someone said climate there is good for bronchitis. EVERYONE in Uk has chest ailments due to the damp.


sar Says:

Kimmi, it was strange of Zimonjic. Guess he was nervous playing Davis Cup.


sar Says:

Margot, I have been in that area before and it is beautiful. I just saw the weather and it is going to be cool the beginning of next week. On Tuesday the high will be only 54. BRrrrr. But we won’t get there until the weekend and hopefully it will warm up.

OllyK, I think Serbians will learn how to conduct themselves in these matches. They don’t have any tennis tradition, mostly soccer and basketball, right? I’m sure Novak understands this and since he is treated as a god all over the country he will get over it. Is there a transcript of player’s interviews?


jane Says:

OllyK – yes, thanks for your firsthand account; it’s always so interesting to hear the report from someone in the stands. I wondered what happened to Novak after his fight to win the second set. To be honest, I kind of thought he’d finish it off in straights after that, since he really seized the momentum to fight and win that second set. It looked to be Sam’s. However, maybe he had a bit of a letdown, and if the crowd were leaving en masse, I can see how that could add to it. But given Novak’s experience, he has to put that behind him. Sometimes he takes crowd stuff too personal, too heartfelt, when it’s really not meant that way. As sar said “he will get over it.”

Good luck to Serbia tomorrow.

Interesting how few top guys are playing the Davis Cup: only Novak, Soderling and Cilic from the top ten (and Gonza I guess too) – no Murray, Delp, Fed, Nadal, Davy, Roddick, Verdasco. I guess the big Frenchies are playing too -Tsonga and Monfils. Anyhow… this may impact IW results.

Duro you should’ve bet on Miami. : )


OllyK Says:

Hey, everybody, I’m glad you like it!

First, maxi: It is a great feeling! I’m really enjoying these days. I won’t be here around Roland Garros I’ll be in Dubai at that time, but thanks for the invite.. :( but my biggest wish is to watch Novak on Grand Slam. So, maybe next year we will arrange sth….Then, I’d love to! :)

Margot: I’m doing my best these days to meet Nole. Hehe. I met some press ppl today and they told me they’ll take me to “backstage” tomorrow when they saw/heard about my Nole-fanatism… :) I can be very persuasive. :) I can’t wait!!! I hope they will keep their promise! :) So, Nolee, be careful, I’m coming! :))

Sar,”we” will learn eventually…So, I’ll just sit and wait.. I was just feeling sorry for Nole, cause fans can really boost his energy and motivation on court…

About today: Tipsa and Ziki were very good (except when they lost tie in 1st, they had 6:2 and serve..they should’ve not lost it!!)..And that point in tiebreak in 3rd set…we, spectators in Arena, didn’t know what happened since there was no video beam, so we couldn’t see replay. We were all confused about what the hell happened??! But then I got home, watched replay on TV, and that point definitely decided the winner of the match. USA team was brilliant. We couldn’t get one break point on Isners serve games!!! I can’t imagine what would have happened if this was played on hard court! Maaan!! So, congrats to all USA fans! :) And todays spectators were better. Still not good but better. I hope we will be at our best tomorrow during Noles match, cause he really needs us! HE looked really tired yesterday and said in his interview that if match with Querrey lasted one set longer he would not have strength.. :(
Talking about interviews..sar, yes there are some transcripts but only in Serbian.. :/
Soo, Serbia, behave tomorrow, cheer for our boy with all your heart, I know I will, and may the better man win!!! GO, NOLEEEEE! :)


OllyK Says:

And, sar, I forgot : yes, we are soccer and basketball nation. When our soccer team plays, people come from all over the country to Belgrade and wait for 12 hours to buy tickets…Same thing with basketball. For example, our basketball club “Partizan” has the best fans in Europe! That is why our Davis cup selector said to press yesterday that he would like to see in Arena atmosphere like on Partizan games. Unfortunately that is too much to ask. At least for this year…But trust me if we are going to play with Croatia in Belgrade it is going to be full!! No metter what sport is on!


Duro Says:

Olly, dear Olly… God forbid that “Partizan” fans come to the tennis match. I’m their fan, so I know what I’m talking about. With that atmosphere there would not be a tennis match at all!

About today’s result… Damn it! Novak has to play tomorrow and I didn’t want it to happen. Totally unnecessary tiring 4 days before IW. And on clay, too… 11 hours flight, no sleeping properly for two days, and a switch from clay to hard, from a snowy Belgrade to a sunny IW… And I placed my 100 Euros on Novak to win it. Crazy me! Jane was right. I should have picked Miami. Somebody should tell him not to burn out so much for the DC. It doesn’t really matter! We all (tennis fans) only pretend it does. Well it doesn’t! It’s opposite to the nature of the sport! And my naive, national pride burdened Nole is burning so much for that shi t… And what about my 100 Euroooooooos!!!??? Damn!


OllyK Says:

Duro, I am a Red Star fan, but atmosphere on last few matches of Partizan was ecstatic. Obradovic said that he would like sth like that in Arena, but he didn’t say that he would like Partizan fans on stands! “Grobari” and tennis match – oxymoron! :)
About Nole…Although I am happy to watch him play one more time, in my heart I want someone else to show up on court instead of him today. He is doing this just because some people here think that he wasn’t doing much in DC till now, that he is not a patriot, that he plays only for himself and blah blah..and he wants to show them all that they are wrong… Stupid, I know! And he really looked totally exhausted on Friday. He had massages in 3rd set: twice – right leg, then left leg… I am worried. :( But, lets hope he will be that smart not to burn out today completely…
About your 100 euros..Hehe, maybe IW is still better choice. If he gives his best there, since he is already tired, maybe he will not have enough strength for Miami.. We’ll see… The only thing I reeeally don’t like is that climate switch..But, IN NOLE WE TRUST! :)


margot Says:

OllyK: You go for it girl! However, take your smelling salts, Djko is v. good looking and, I suspect, v. v. charming to the ladies…


Kimmi Says:

margot, so I read Britain is now tied with Lithuania. All eye are on “Dan Evans” to do the magic, do you think he can do it?

Here is a twitter from Murray.

“4 30 in the morning here trying to watch dan evans match and it won’t work!!! No live texts from 5live either! So annoying!”


margot Says:

kimmi: Hi! Dan Evans has yet to win a Davis cup match, so not holding breath!


Kimmi Says:

Novak took the first set 7-5. Isner just broke Novak in the 1st game of second set. Funny to watch Novak reactions here…shouting to the top of his voice when winning first set. break racket when broken in the second…too much pressure.


Polo Says:

Novak is getting crazier (in a bad way) as he gets older. I don’t think he can handle the pressure of being number one. I used to like the guy but his on court behavior has not been very admirable lately.


Kimmi Says:

Isner took second set 6-4. His serve has bailed him out on a lot of big points. If he can continue to serve like this..he has a chance. Frustrating Novak here big time.


Kimmi Says:

whhops! should be 6-3 second set to Isner


Andrew Miller Says:

Where can I watch online live? I apologize – everyone bailed me out on this one before!!!


Kimmi Says:

http://atdhe.net/

Look for Serbia vs USA


Kimmi Says:

Novak third set 6-3. Isner has an injury on his finger or something, don’t know if this is so but the serving has gone down hill. DF to be broken twice on the third set. Does not look good, meanwhile the djoker is pumped up!


Andrew Miller Says:

Sliding on clay. It’s tough for Isner.


Andrew Miller Says:

Isner wins the game at love. Tiebreak, 4th set. Djokovic looks like he didnt try that game.


Andrew Miller Says:

Djokovic really looks life-less. What is the problem.


Kimmi Says:

Djokovic lost a point for “bad conduct”??…OMG Very tense


Andrew Miller Says:

Credit to Isner. Up 5-2 in the tiebreak off big serving and clever drop shots.


Andrew Miller Says:

Djokovic playing smart with flat shots. That’s why Isner couldnt take a bigger cut at the ball at the 5-6 point.


Kimmi Says:

WOW! That was there for the taking…my streaming is a minute slower..now or never for Isner


Andrew Miller Says:

Fifth set should be interesting. Doesnt Djokovic seem winded?


Kimmi Says:

Isner takes the 4th set..unbelivable. I have to admit I did not see this one coming..we have the decider!


Sean Randall Says:

Wow is right. Five sets!

Novak absolutely 100% has to win this match. No excuses, no retirements. He has to win.

Novak is so nervous right now, it’s amazing to watch. But if he ever wants to be No. 1 or to win another Slam he’s got to win. It’s on his racquet.


Andrew Miller Says:

Mr. Randall – what if Isner pulls it out? It seems like it would be huge


Sean Randall Says:

Andrew, as much as I’d like to see Isner win, I just cannot imagine Novak losing this.


Sean Randall Says:

All the pressure in the world is on Novak and he’s serving second, so that only makes it worse.

Isner has nothing to lose. No one expected this much from the Big Man.


Kimmi Says:

10 Double faults for Novak so far


Kimmi Says:

Another DF from Isner to be broken. Could this seal the win for Serbia


Kimmi Says:

what a save from Isner..Djoko to serve for the match next


jane Says:

Battle Royale! HUGE win for Djoko and Serbia to take make it to the quarters. BUT wow what a fight from Isner. He showed real maturity in that match. I feel for BOTH of these guys in terms of doing well at IW. They’ll have some recovery time, but this was a marathon.


Andrew Miller Says:

Shocked Djokovic pulled it out. Isner put up quite an epic fight, even with some flawed shot-making and what seemed like fatigue.

I think Isner has a lot of upside, the never say die attitude I used to attribute to Nadal but Isner seems to have it also. He just does not like losing.

Not sure what to think about Djokovic other than nice gesture at the end in congratulating the USA team for a good fight.


jane Says:

I am not shocked Djoko pulled it out. Even though I was biting my nails, like Sean said, I really felt there is no way he’d lose. He cares deeply for his country, and I would imagine that spurred him on. Great win by Novak facing an upstart with an attacking game, a hungry attitude and nothing to lose. Those are the matches Nole has to win.


Kimmi Says:

Yeah, great for Serbia, I thought it will be easier than this (Djoko clay experience and Isner Clay CV) But ISNER! Agree jane, has shown some maturity. To play like that against a hostile crowd and the amount of matches he played this weekend shows a lot of heart…just incredible.


sar Says:

Nole was crying.


Sean Randall Says:

Great battle from John. While Novak did win in the end the way he did it wasn’t terribly encouraging. I just don’t see how he gets to No. 1 playing so tight in the pressure moments.


jane Says:

I’d say the crowd was overwhelmingly partisan but not hostile or unkind. They just seemed really silent when Isner was doing well. I hope the crowds remain respectful in Croatia vs. Serbia. That should be a good and very competitive tie. I see Nalbandian sealed it for Argentina in the absence of Delpo so they will meet Russia. Spain and France could be good, but I am beginning to think Spain might reign again.


Duro Says:

Oh, boy… Rafa is wearing his knees and Nole’s wearing his nerves… Who’s gonna last longer? 5 Matches in Dubai and 2 here, and each and every one of them with laboring pains all along. Passion of the Novak, so forgive me, God.


jane Says:

Sean Djoko knows his serve is in, um, a transitional state (or not working great to put it bluntly) so when he has to rely on it to serve out a match/set he must get nervous. Plus – there was LOADS of pressure in this particular match compared to an “away” Grand Slam where he’s playing more for himself as opposed to his entire nation, which expects a lot from him. He wasn’t tight when he was looking to break Inser to finish it, imo. Isner just kept coming up with serves and volleys he needed. Djoko played tight only on his serve game. He knew history was on his racquet – the first time for this country to ever make the QFs. Ever. That’s kind of big.


Kimmi Says:

I thought the crowd would cheer for Isner first serve faults sometime which was not very nice. But that is expected in DC matches.


jane Says:

Maybe Kimmi, but I didn’t notice it in the last set anyhow. There, they were mainly silent. Anyhow, it is par for the course with DC. The fans get rather riled up.


sar Says:

Gimelstob said the patriotic song they were playing was like Hava Naghila sp? It really got the crowd going. Maybe Duro can tell us about it.


Duro Says:

It’s “March on the river Drina”. Patriotic song from a World War I.


Duro Says:

I would like to post a link, so you can all see how the “Partizan” fans are supporting their club. It’s a football and basketball club from Belgrade, Novak’s tennis club when young, also, my favorites, too. The tickets for their games are sold as touristic attraction. When you see this, you can definitely understand that the audience was very polite, actually, comparing to their usual behavior. The fact is, very short and not so large tennis tradition is to be blamed of some sporadic episodes of cheering between points, or something similar. They even couldn’t resist to comment in the middle of the Novak’s points, partly because of it, partly because of the incredible tension during the match. They almost didn’t let Novak finish the last points shouting because of the so obvious thrill. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foFzvbduMwk


jane Says:

Good lord, Troicki didn’t put up much of a fight against Sam; just goes to show how crucial Novak’s win was and how much pressure was on him to win that match, because if he’d've lost it, and if Serbia had lost the tie, you know it would’ve been on Djokovic’s shoulders to bear. I’d like to think Troicki would’ve fought harder, though, had Novak lost. But he could’ve gone more for a ‘character’ win against Sam, if nothing else. Anyhow, onward and upward…


Andrew Miller Says:

Isner had to win on Friday for the U.S. to be in the hunt today.

I agree with Mr. Randall – a win is a win for Djokovic, but if this is what it’s like in front of his home crowd against a player with a shaky clay record, it’s hard to see Djokovic get to #1.

That said: in my opinion if Djoko switches back to the old Wilson racquet that brought him the AO title, I think his serving weapon comes back and he’s back in the hunt. (See Davydenko’s switch to a racquet that worked for him – he went from top nothing to top 5).

Call me crazy, but I am beginning to think a lot of the rise of Quisner (Querrey-Isner). Sam has some of the silent warrior in him and Isner more of the known assasin (Djokovic, 2008) in him. Davis Cup has become the place for the U.S. that strengthens the next generation, and I think Isner-Querrey proved they are it.

(I think there are still huge wins ahead for Roddick, but in terms of the next generation getting in the game soon, it’s clear to me that it’s Querrey and Inser’s chance). Some other players may be on the horizon, but they are either less than confidant head-cases at present or not good enough yet.

The current generation of U.S. players, Roddick excepted, is slowly moving down the rankings (Blake, James; Fish, Mardy; Ginepri, Robby; Dent, Taylor [even with the comeback]). The Bryan brothers will still be around for a while. But Davis Cup has shown one thing: Querrey and Isner come to play.

I think they are already challenging for the throne, however impertinent that may seem. They just accept that’s how it’s done. I respect that.


jane Says:

Djoko is not out of the hunt yet, though, considering he’s number 2!! And while he has some MS finals to defend on clay, he doesn’t have that much to defend at either of the two upcoming slams (3rd round and quarters), so where Fed has a lot to defend, Djoko can gain points if he gets his serve together between now and then. I realize, fully, that the caveat re: his serve is crucial, but he’s been gutting out some wins, so I really feel if he can get his serve firing, it could be smooth sailing rather than all the “labouring pains” that Duro aptly mentioned!


jane Says:

I love this quote from Djoko about Isner’s serves: “Isner fought like crazy, and his serve was unbelievable,” Djokovic said of the 20th-ranked American. “His serves are coming like from the fourth floor, and I had no idea where they would go.”

The fourth floor – LOL. : ) It must be tough dealing with those serves and on clay the bounce would be even less predictable, so it’s not like a guy can stand back in or beyond the tram lines and hope to return it that way. Wow. Must be tough. I guess on hard court Isner would hit more true aces, but still, either way that serve is a monster!


Andrew Miller Says:

Call me crazy, but Djokovic played better with Wilson, didnt he? Here’s a clip from Roland Garros vs. Nadal before he switched in 2009 to the head racquet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLeKeZJf_x8


Duro Says:

Andrew Miller, Novak received 24,5 million for that racquet contract, so as long as it lasts, no hope for the Wilson switch…

Jane, “he’s been gutting out some wins…” Oh, yeah! Seven of them in a row! Last seven matches. But, seven victories, nevertheless! Only by his heart (or guts, if you please). There are some serious prejudices about Novak’s fighting spirit, fitness and such. He’ll get it there, all right. He’ll fix the serve, eventually, with Head or with Wilson, but mainly with his head (not a capital letter). And the head is what he’s got the best, no matter that most of you think otherwise.


Andrew Miller Says:

Duro is right..no hope for a switch. Pay me that much $ and I would not switch either. Maybe Head can make a better racquet for him.


Duro Says:

Miller, you could have posted clips from Monte Carlo and Madrid 2009, both played with the Head, and far more better matches than this one, despite played with Wilson. But he even changed Head during the year, going from 16×19 string pattern to 18×20 which he’s using now. Anyway, a struggle all along, that’s for sure. When you’re number 2, with most matches won last year, struggling all the time, you can only hope for the best if you solve your problems. I think, he will solve them sooner or latter. And then, guess what… No1-vak, so help him, God!


sar Says:

Congrats to the Serbian team. Great match. An EPIC, HEART STOPPING EFFORT from John. You had to be here to feel how impressive this was.

Tweet from Bob Bryan


sar Says:

Duro, I guess the crowd was wonderful compared to the Partizan noise.


jane Says:

“There are some serious prejudices about Novak’s fighting spirit, fitness and such.”

Agreed. People are so quick to judge. He won. That’s what matters. Moreover, he won when NOT playing near to his best; in a way, that matters even more, as he is finding a way/ a will to win. So with people doubting him under pressure and saying he gets tight, etc, etc, I see it a little differently. If he can manage the wins when not playing well, then once he gets on track, it bodes even better. The catch is this – WHEN will he get back on track? And will it be in time to hold off the challenges of all the other players getting back on track, because let’s face it, Nadal has been injured, Murray has been injured (either psychically or physically), Delpo has been injured (and/or is feeling the pressure of expectations for the first time), Fed has been ill (at the right time), Roddick has been re-injured, Davy has been injured. ONLY Novak, it seems, along with Cilic and Sodering and the Frenchies, hasn’t been injured since the AO.

And yet, still the disparaging comments about his fitness and fight.

What I want to see is Novak peak at the right time, for the 2 European slams. He should look to the man in front of him, who shows again and again when to peak. Fed knows to peak for the slams and particularly in the latter rounds of the slams. I’d love to see Novak follow that lead(er).


Roddick Unsure of Future in Davis Cup, But Interested in Captaincy Says:

[...] Can Davydenko Return the Davis Cup to Russia? [...]


Duro Says:

Sar, you can’t even imagine…

And now, I wont to express my admiration to Isner’s performance today, as well as his mental strength. Respect and the credit for that achievement.

Cheers, all.


Von Says:

I’m proud of our US team, especially Isner for having played so many lengthy matches over 3 days. Isner played with heart, and had it not been the fact that he’s unaccustomed to Davis Cup atmosphere coupled with having to play for three days straight, which must have been very physically draining, I think he would have won the 4th rubber today. Kudos to John Isner.
___________________

“He should look to the man in front of him, who shows again and again when to peak. Fed knows to peak for the slams and particularly in the latter rounds of the slams. I’d love to see Novak follow that lead(er).” jane

WOW jane, you certainly do a 360 degree turn around whenever Djokovic wins a match playing mediocre against a lower ranked opponent. Even though I’m not a Federer fan, I think it would be fair to say that you don’t see it the same way whenever Fed wins, not playing his best, and give him the credit for the win. You always come up with statements like the other guy ‘choked’ or he let Fed’s aura get to him, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Then, follows the debates and analyses on Fed’s first and second serve percentages, winners and UEs, FH/BH, that you get into, bisecting every aspect of the match.

I’m not a Fed fan, but the guy deserves his kudos.

“Agreed. People are so quick to judge. He won. That’s what matters. Moreover, he won when NOT playing near to his best; in a way, that matters even more, as he is finding a way/ a will to win. ”

Apply my above comments ref. Federer which I wrote to this statement and, add this, that Federer does the same, he finds a way to win, not playing his best. Give credit where it’s due because it will come back to bite. What’s funny to me, that despite all your past comments on Fed’s opponents choking et al, you now want Djokovic to take a page out of Fed’s book.

My question to you, is why are there two different sets of rationalizations/arguments for your preferred player. It should be the same, shouldn’t it for all players, n’est ce pas?

___________________
“I agree with Mr. Randall – a win is a win for Djokovic, but if this is what it’s like in front of his home crowd against a player with a shaky clay record, it’s hard to see Djokovic get to #1.”
Andrew Miller

It seemed as though Djokovic was the visitor and NOT Isner. John showed no fear and fought despite the noisy crowd and fatigue. Bravo John!

People knock Roddick for his devotion to Davis Cup, but that boy has heart. He lead the US to many countries, playing under very bad conditions, and yet got wins on clay. Additionally, he brought home the Cup.

Today, I thought to myself if Roddick was playing, no way would the US have been down on the first day of play. And, if Djokovic was shaky today vs. Isner, his teeth would be chattering vs. Roddick. LOL.


jane Says:

Von – I have given credit to Fed for finding ways to win when not playing his best, and one of those things is his great second serve, which I have mentioned many a times. He can win matches even without many first serves precisely because he has that second serve. And I have said players have choked against him, too. And both are true.

” Give credit where it’s due because it will come back to bite.”

Whose biting? I am not sure what you mean here. I do and have given credit where its due to Federer, in fact I do in the very statement above. I said Djoko should follow Fed’s lead precisely **because** Fed knows when/how to peak. He saves his best for last and raises his game when he needs to. Sometimes he can get by with less than his best, but Fed knows when and how to peak better than anyone other players on the tour right now. He may not be my favorite, but I have to appreciate the guy’s efforts, the way he’s managed his health/training and career, and his unprecedented success.

That said, I gave full credit to Isner above and also feel proud of Djoko’s win. And that’s it.


jane Says:

Just noticed your specific question Von: “why are there two different sets of rationalizations/arguments for your preferred player. It should be the same, shouldn’t it for all players, n’est ce pas?”

Actually, I disagree that all “arguments/rationalizations,” or analyses, should be “the same for all players.”

Here’s why: for one thing, let’s take the choking/aura argument. VERY few players ever get an ‘aura of invincibility’ like Fed had around him from say 04-07. He got that through winning of course, and also through the press playing up his status as the “best ever player to pick up a tennis racquet.” So I think players choking against such a mighty foe was more likely to happen then, than, say, against guys who have never achieved that kind of “greatness” and “unbeatable” status. You just have to look at someone like Fed differently to a degree. Rafa was maybe close to on par with Fed for a while there, but even now, we can see that his “invincibility” is not as great, and one wonders if it will even affect his clay season this year. Djokovic is clearly “up and down”, a roller coaster type player in terms of momentum, so when lower ranked players take the court against him they must still believe they have a decent chance of winning. Clearly, the same is arguably more true of Fed now, particularly at smaller events, because since 2008 some of Fed’s invincibility has been diminished as a few more opponents have stepped up and have beaten him more regularly. But he’s still the one to beat at slams.

As for analysing Fed’s losses differently, it may be because he has different strengths and/or weaknesses than other players. Same with Rafa, Djoko, Murray etc. I think that each guy is different, and so their wins/losses will be analyzed differently.

Listen, we all have our biases, and thus maybe we see things from a slightly different perspective when analysing our favorite’s results. I am sure the same happens with you when you look at Roddick. There’s nothing particularly ‘wrong’ with this I don’t think. It’s just human nature to see things more positively (or sometimes even more negatively) when analyzing our favorite people and things.

Anyhow, no harm meant in it.

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ATP - Oct 20 WTA - Oct 20
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