Davis Cup Semifinals: Looking the other way
by Abe Kuijl | September 20th, 2007, 4:15 pm

Here we are. Ahead of a weekend’s action of Davis Cup, where four nations will try to make their way to the event’s final in November, but despite that, the most interesting match-ups feature those countries battling to stay in the World Group. 

Sure enough, Russia and Germany could get involved in a close encounter in Moscow, but who cares about teams headlined by Nikolay Davydenko and Tommy Haas, when you have Novak Djokovic and Lleyton Hewitt grind it out on a moon-landscaped clay court, in front of nearly 20,000 out-of-their-mind Serbs, which just happens to be the biggest Davis Cup crowd ever, outside of a final. The fact that Serbia is on the verge of making their World Group debut, and Australia on the edge of dropping out of the big leagues for only the second time in Cup history (dating back to 1905!), adds all the drama. Now this is something I’d like to see.

But there’s more. Guess where the No.1 player in the world is playing. It’s not the semis. 

The mere fact that Roger Federer is playing Davis Cup, is worth mentioning itself. After all, the Swiss great only shows up for the event once a year, when it’s time to save the country from relegation. This year’s opponent for Switzerland in the play-offs will be the rock-solid Czech Republic, led by No.10 Tomas Berdych, who surprisingly enough finds Radek Stepanek on his side. Stepanek, No.8 a year ago and currently climbing the ranks again after suffering a severe back injury, refused to play for his country for the past three years due to disputes with team captain Cyril Suk. In December last year, Stepanek even said he would never play Davis Cup again. After speaking with current captain Jaroslav Navratil, Stepanek decided to make himself available again, and now he returns to face Federer in his first Davis Cup match after his lay-off. 

Assuming Federer wins both his singles matches, and Berdych, Stepanek beat Wawrinka, Federer’s Davis Cup hopes will come down to the doubles match on Saturday, the one area of the game where the 12-time Grand Slam champion is far from invincible. I wouldn’t mind turning on the TV for this one, either. 

But no matter how much drama these two encounters may provide, there’s always the British, to take it one step further. 

Heading out to Wimbledon’s Court No.1, the Brits will take on Croatia, led by the struggling Ivan Ljubicic. Not having to face Mario Ancic or Ivo Karlovic, who are both staying home due to injury, John Lloyd’s team is looking in good shape to give Tim Henman the perfect goodbye at the only setting right for the Tiger’s farewell, even if it’s ‘just’ a Davis Cup play-off. 

Croatia is heading to London with Marin Cilic as their No.2 player. Albeit a great prospect for the future, and yet another big server from Ivanisevic-land, the 18-year-old Cilic is unfamiliar with the heated Davis Cup atmosphere, let alone playing an away tie at Wimbledon in front of a crowd who are about to say farewell to one of their best players in the history of the game. I believe the Brits will pull this one out. 

So what have we got left? Oh yes, the US is playing in Sweden and we talked about Germany facing Russia for a second. Right, look for the Americans to roll over the Scandinavians, while in Moscow, the home team edges the Germans.

Gotta love Davis Cup.


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62 Comments for Davis Cup Semifinals: Looking the other way

jane Says:

I’d love to be in Serbia right about now.

John (1) Says:

re: “Now this is something I’d like to see.” and “I wouldn’t mind turning on the TV for this one, either.”

Just curious, what country will you fly to, to see this on TV?

zola Says:

Too many matches for 3 days. Davis cup should be like the soccer world cup or the olympics. Every 2-4 years, for two weeks and all we do is watch tennis and get crazy…..

I think fed is too strong for berdych . Stepanek can give him a hard time. I would love to see that match ( and the doubles, if it boils to be the decisive match).

then who? serbia-Australia should be fun if Hewitt can play. I would love to see some US-Sweden. I don’t know if they have a chance.

with Marat being somewhere in a mountain city, Russia-Germany can be lame. maybe Hass-Davydenko will be fun.

Oh…yes, England.I hope Murray plays. I like to see his game.

And why is Ancic still out? does mono take more than a year or does he have an injury?

too much fun for a weekend!

zola Says:

I think as Sean said, Versus will show the Davis cup in US. At least tomorrow 12-6 afternoon will show US-Sweden


jfstennisman Says:

Karlovic is not injured. He is in a dispute with the Croatian Tennis Federation and won’t play Davis Cup.

grendel Says:

Zola – or FoT, or Seth, or Christopher – I’ve seen all of you posting on Tennis.com, I just read it and don’t post (make enough of a nuisance of myself here) – but is there some problem with the website, for last 2 days have not been able to get on. Pity, can be some good discussions there – diff.style.

grendel Says:

Zola – Ancic had shoulder injury (I think) just before us open, still got it I suppose. I wouldn’t call Murray English – most Scots find that about as palatable a Serb finding himself called a Croat (as happened recently…)

zola Says:

you are right about the ennis.com websitr. it is very slow. although if you are patient and can wait, eventually you can get to one of the threads in half an hour or so! Several people have notified the tennis.com people. let’e see what they can do about it.

Poor Ancic. First mono, now injury! and thanks for the correction with Murray…but he plays for England doen’t he?

and you should comment there too. it is as addictive as here.

John (1) Says:

zola said: “john, I think as Sean said, Versus will show the Davis cup in US. At least tomorrow 12-6 afternoon will show US-Sweden.”

The two TV references were to “srb vs aus” and “cze vs sui”. My question still stands: “What country do you need to fly to, to see these on TV?”



grendel Says:

Murray plays for the Great Britain Davis cup team. Great Britain – also known as United Kingdom (no idea why these different monikers) – i.e. unity of England, Scotland, Noerthern Ireland and Wales. It’s quite likely that Scotland will opt for independence, maybe even before Murray retires – in which case England will be the enemy.

No, any self-respecting Scot would be outraged at the idea of playing for England.

zola Says:

sorry, I didn’t pay attention before.
you have to fly to one of these countries:
srb vs Aus——> fly to serbia but I think you can watch it in Australia too.

for cze vs sui———-> fly to Czeck republic. Agin you can watch it perhaps in Switzerland too.

If you don’t find a ticket consider going to tennisform.com or channelsurfing.net. there is a chance they show it. I would check Eurosport.com as well.

Abe Kuijl Says:

John, I was being figurative when referring to watching those encounters. I wish I’d be able to watch them, but unfortunately I’m not.

Shital Green Says:

This year’s Davis Cup is ours to take. It is almost confirmed. This has been long waiting since 1995. I will not be that disappointed to see that the egoist Swiss team will be out of the World Group for the first time since 1994. I was kinda surprised to see Berdych/Stepanek beat the invincible Fed/Allegro. I would not have been so if it had been Dloughy/Damm winning, who for whatever reasons, did not play. Who was “choking” today with 2 sets up and a set point to let Czech win?
Congratulation to Djoko who played better than Zimo, doubles specialist, to defeat the experienced Aussie team, and looks like the Aussie will not be making to the World Group for the 1st time since 1905.

Tony Says:

Federer beat Berdych 7-6, 7-6, 6-3, winning both his singles matches on Czech soil, to square the tie 2-2. The rubber is Wawrinka-Stepanek.

“was kinda surprised to see Berdych/Stepanek beat the invincible Fed/Allegro… Who was “choking” today with 2 sets up and a set point to let Czech win?” I was more surprised to find out that Yves Allegro is ranked #810 in singles and #52 in doubles. On the other hand, Berdych is #10 in singles and Stepanek is effectively around #10 in singles (despite his #34 ranking). Which player — Federer or Allegro — do you think the Czechs had aimed at?

What evidence do you have to have to support your claim about the “egoist Swiss team”? Or is there a particular Swiss player you just don’t like? According to Abe Kuijl’s article, there seemed to be more ego issues with the Czech team in the past.

Shital Green Says:

I was talking about the egoism of your kind who cannot see beyond what you like to see. What are those excuses about rankings?
Proof: Has Swiss team ever won Davis Cup? No, why? Precisely because of egocentrism, which only seeks for and limits itself to personal aggrandizements.

Do I have dislike about a particular player? Hell, no. I like all players. That is why I enjoy tennis better than most out there. I am not married to any one of the top 20 players and will not take a vow to remain faithful to any one of them. I am against such institutionalism. But it makes me sick to see how fanatics make great players look bad. I don’t even know why I am responding to your egoism, probably I got irked by your blindness. You would not be raising those questions had it not hurt your ego associated with and sold out to some imaginary idea.

Tony Says:

Shital: A lot of meaningless smoke oozing from your writing. But you still have failed to provide any evidence to support your claim that the Swiss team is “egoist”. Instead you added another claim that is dubious and unsubstantiated (obviously, I don’t mean the part about the Swiss never winning the Davis Cup, though they were runners up in 1992): “Has Swiss team ever won Davis Cup? No, why? Precisely because of egocentrism, which only seeks for and limits itself to personal aggrandizements.” Are you afraid you’ll be debunked if you try to provide your facts and reasoning, if you have any?

Provide hard evidence, or refrain from these fanatical, disparaging claims.

Were you looking in a mirror when you wrote about “about the egoism of your kind who cannot see beyond what you like to see”? It must stroke your ego to fantasize that you “hurt (my) ego” but the real reason for my post is that cynical and false information like yours should never be left unchallenged.

Shital Green Says:

Davis Cup is not about one individual; it is about team spirit. You will never have team spirit if your preferences are exclusively personal.

Stepanek beats Wawrinka in straight sets and, with that, knocks the Swiss team out of World Group for the 1st time since 1994, under the golden reign of Fed the invincible. Is not Swiss tennis better today under the care of the GOAT Fed than in 1994? Why is this loss if not due to egocentrism that he has helped implant in other Swiss players, by being a quintessence himself?

Congratulations to the Czech team !
And, of course, my zillion congratulations to the great Serbian team for ousting the Aussies, the 2nd greatest team in the Davis Cup history after the USA, and making to the World Group. It is not unusual to make excuses when defeat is imminent. Hewitt chickened out of his reverse singles tennis match with Djokovic, consigning Australia to defeat in their Davis Cup World Group playoff. Now I understand why Djoko played doubles in Cincy and compromised his chances of winning singles there. Only in retrospect, I see the team spirit and great love that Djoko has for Serbia. Support Serbia against the world power’s attempt to deny what it deserves as a nation of great people. I also hail the Serbian heart to offer Kosovo independence within Serbia, i.e. giving the Albanians a chance to manage their own lives.

jane Says:

There were, indeed, some interesting upsets in Davis cup this weekend. Looks like some very competitive matches in the Czech and Swiss tie. Berdych and Stepanek weren’t able to beat Federer each on their own, but they pushed him, and managed to take the doubles. A well-earned win by those two, both very talented players.

For the U.S.’s sake, I hope this team can win the final in November/December and quiet all of the disquiet about the lack of American tennis talent, and perhaps in the process inspire some young players as well as the American fans. It will be a boon to American tennis in general, including raising the profile of the sport in the U.S., if they can take this one. Maybe they’ll even make the cover of S.I.?!

On another note, what is with the mysterious flu-like bugs and injuries, seeming to continue from US Open, and seeming to plague the entire tour!? In different countries no less: Hewitt out with viral illness; entire US team awakens Friday with flu; Swedes catch it too; Stepanek struggles with injury… or something.

Think the players need a holiday in the sun, a break from each other, flu-shots, or something…Strange.

FoT Says:

Actually, until anyone in Switzerland not named Federer can win an important rubber – then they don’t deserve to go forward as a ‘team’. As many of you said – DC is a “team” event and one person can not win it all by themselves all the time. Roger has constantly won 3 ties for the Swiss team and if he somehow can’t win but 2 ties – most of the time they can’t advance.

I saw highlights of the doubles match and I’ve read match reports from people who were there. Roger played magnificantly in that doubles match. He never dropped serve. But they didn’t win because it’s a “DOUBLES” match. You need your double’s partner to also hold his load. Unluckly for Yves because a lot of times he has done that. But to blame Roger for getting Switzerland kicked out of the world group is stupid. If not for Roger, they would have been kicked out a long time ago.

You need depth in tennis or you need a good draw. You can’t tell me that the Swiss team wouldn’t have advanced if they had been pitted against someone like Israel, Peru, Japan, or the Slovak Republic – all teams that advanced due to a great draw!

So to all those folks wanting to blame Roger for the Swiss downfall need to look the other direction. Count how many ties Roger had to win all 3 points for them to advance and you wouldn’t be blaming him any longer. Sure, Stan is a good player but he still needs experience.

Look at the teams in the World group (other than those mentioned above) – you see the US, Russia, Germany, Spain, Australia, Argentina, etc. None of those teams are “one-man” teams and they are “TEAMS”. The Swiss has been a one-man team almost everysince Roger started playing for them back when he was a teenager.

I just watched the DC tie between the US and Swiss back in 2001 (I think) and Roger won all 3 points in that tie almost single handed. So he has put in his dues and I don’t blame him one bit for really looking at his schedule instead of playing DC each time.

I can guarantee you after he retires people will remember that the Swiss star had XX number of slams verses no DC titles. He’s done more for the name of Switzerland by being #1 and winning all these titles than he could have ever done in Davis Cup.

Skorocel Says:

FoT, absolutely agree with you! You know, that Saturday’s doubles was a rather tough match for Roger since he had to face 3 opponents instead of 2 (Allegro included)… Just kidding:-)

zola Says:

I couldn’t watch any matches ( other than US’s) . were any of you able to watch the DC online?

As far as the Czech-Switzerland, my immediate reaction was I don’t want to be Wawrinka at the moment”. He lost two matches. Then I remebered that Roger lost the doubles too. But e won his two individuals. So, had Wawrinka won one of his matches, the results could have been different.

I am no Fed-fan, but I would not blame one player for a loss or even a win. This is a team work.

So, Aussies are out for the first time since 1905? Wow, Serbia….
and Switerland out since 1995? Wow to Czechs…

Does it mean that Roger doesn’t need to worry about DC next year?

I am also happy for England because of Murray and Henman.

I just wish these matches were broadcasted. Can you imagine watching top players from all these countries playing each other? SIngles and doubles?
ITF is losing big money by treating the Davis Cup so poorly.

zola Says:


**Think the players need a holiday in the sun, a break from each other, flu-shots, or something…Strange***

They need a big break somewhere in the calendar. The tennis season is too long.

张奔斗 Says:

Until Switzerland can find a decent player to be Roger’s doubles partner, whether or not they can advance is purely a matter of fluke. If their opponent happens to have two good players (as is the case with the Czech Republic and Croatia), then they just can’t win, no matter what Federer does or does not do.

张奔斗 Says:

I also think it’s stupid that the headlines at all kinds of sports websites today are “Federer-led Switzerland loses to the Czechs” or some variation on that. Why single out the Fed? The Swiss team lost, not Federer.

Kara L. Says:

The Czech team is, in my mind, the one of the strongest Davis Cup teams in the world at the moment. If they played the US or Russia now with Steps in the mix they’d have a pretty good chance to steal away that trophy.

People shouldn’t be too hard on the Swiss team or Yves Allegro: perhaps Luthi made a tactical error in playing Allegro for doubles instead of Wawrinka (who has a huge serve) but really, the Swiss were the underdogs in this case.

jane Says:

张奔斗 –

While you’re right, that Federer shouldn’t be singled out, the headlines say that because Federer is, of course, the most dominant player in tennis at present (perhaps ever), and because none of the other Swiss players are very well-known entities. Besides, when Roger “loses,” whatever the context, it’s likely to make headlines as it’s such a rare occurence.

Kara L –

I agree – the Czech team is really strong at the moment; Berdych & Stepanek provide great contrast in playing style / tactics.

John (1) Says:

Abe Kuijl said: “John, I was being figurative when referring to watching those encounters. I wish I’d be able to watch them, but unfortunately I’m not.”

It’s a shame that these were not televised.

babu Says:

I love Shital Green’s argument against egocentrism as a means for winning 3 out of 5 tennis matches. I makes me wonder why China hasn’t won Davis cup yet (no ego there), or why Roger Federer, the player with the best singles career on the team, which I guess is egocentric of him, contributed the most to Switzerland’s chance of winning (the two victories where both his). It seems so selfish of him to inflate and impose his ego on the Swiss team and thereby causing their loss.

I am hoping that you will explain this to me; I’m genuinely confused.

ross Says:

Shital is full of part of his/her first name.

davis cup is a team sport. I don’t know if s/he gets that.

I guess Sampras’s seemingly invincible record is now just about broken, so all his (american) fans are getting so desperate to “swiftboat” federer.

Stop swiftboating!

Tony Says:

FoT’s comments are excellent.

Shital has provided no evidence to support his claim that the Swiss team is “egoist”. Instead he added more claims that are disparaging and unsubstantiated, targeted at Federer: “Davis Cup is not about one individual; it is about team spirit. You will never have team spirit if your preferences are exclusively personal…under the golden reign of Fed the invincible… Why is this loss if not due to egocentrism that he has helped implant in other Swiss players, by being a quintessence himself?”

Shital obviously doesn’t know what he is talking about. After Wimbledon, Federer had some members of the Swiss team, including his captain, in Dubai training with him. At the Canada’s Rogers’ Cup, let’s use Shital’s logic: ‘now I understand why Federer played doubles with Yves Allegro in Montreal (losing to the Bryan brothers), and compromised his chances of winning singles there’. In the Davis Cup doubles match, the Swiss newsmedia reported that Federer played well throughout the match; Allegro was a reliable doubles partner for the first three sets but faded after that; and Berdych played better in the final sets. In an interview after Federer and Allegro lost their doubles match to Berdych and Stepanek, the newsmedia brought up the matchpoint that the Swiss had in the third set tiebreaker (which Allegro netted his service return on Berdych’s serve). Federer deflected the blame to himself, saying that that the match point wasn’t the key point but instead pointed to the two breakpoints they had on Stepanek’s serve game before the tiebreaker but failed to convert (when Fed was on the ad court). If you read Federer’s comments before and after the tie, he has mostly tried to take the burden off his team-mates and take responsibility.

We should consider the home court advantage in Davis Cup — the Swiss played on Czech soil in front of nearly 15,000 partisan fans (rowdier than Roddick vs. Federer at the US Open), something which surely had an impact at least on players such as Wawrinka and Allegro. The Czechs chose the Taraflex red carpet because the fast surface suited Berdych’s and Stepanek’s games and they hoped that the surface would not suit Wawrinka at least. A Czech team with Stepanek playing and their money issues settled would be, on home ground, formidable opponents to even the U.S. or Russia.

Swiss newspapers analyzed the defeat and concluded that, if they were honest, without Federer Switzerland would long ago have been relegated. If Davis Cup was as simple as having one strong player, then strong nations as Australia, Spain and Croatia would not have been relegated in the past. Federer, by himself, cannot win a team competition like the Davis Cup unless players like Wawrinka step up or a new generation develops. If the Swiss were smart, they’d focus more on next year’s Olympics rather than Davis Cup for now.

Federer won all three matches in five previous Davis Cup ties, following one-man shows against Serbia, Romania, France, Morocco and the U.S. In 2006, Federer handed Djokovic a 6-3 6-2 6-3 lesson in a match some observers said was marred by Djokovic’s delay tactics, including calling out the trainer multiple times. Some analysts, like Peter Burwash, have said that Federer straightening out Djokovic was good for the Serb’s career and how he behaved on court.

As Shital pointed out, good for Serbia. The mighty Serbian team beat Australia in Belgrade, Serbia, on the red clay chosen by the Serbians, spurred on by a rowdy home crowd of 20,000 Serbs (the third-largest crowd in the Davis Cup’s 108-year history). In his singles matches, Djokovic impressively defeated two players ranked over 90 in the world, Peter Luczak and Chris Guccione, though he struggled a bit against the latter in winning 6-3 7-6(3) 7-6(5). In his doubles match, Djokovic teamed up with Nenad Zimonjic — the world #5 in doubles — yet lost the opening set to Hewitt and Paul Hanley.

Innuendo and smears are cheap: “Hewitt chickened out of his reverse singles tennis match with Djokovic”. The Australian newsmedia would have been all over Hewitt had this been true. Instead, the Australian media consistently reported: ‘A virus has forced Lleyton Hewitt to pull out of a crucial Davis Cup tie against Serbia in Belgrade… “He has a viral infection, he’s got very high temperatures,” (Tennis Australia spokesman Darren Pearce) said. “He simply can’t get out of bed,” he quoted Australia team captain John Fitzgerald as saying ahead of the match.’

Shital Green Says:

Why not signal out Fed when the Swiss lost under his leadership? Leadership is not only about bagging two wins in your pocket, but making sure the team wins. Next, if signaling-out Fed for his team’s loss has offended Fed’s egomaniac fans (the ones who make Fed look bad like most of you are here)), he should not be signaled out for his wins either.

We will see how Czech fares next year. You will be right if they win Davis Cup trophy the second time in their history (once they did in 1980). It is too early to make that call.

China does not have a top ten tennis player, singles or doubles. The least egocentric players are Americans, Australians, French, English, and Swedish in Davis Cup history as they have participated most and won most precisely because those nations have valued Davis Cup more than others and prepared their players accordingly. You don’t have to buy this. This is my personal opinion. Fed does not participate in early rounds. He shows up mostly in playoffs and thereafter. He has skipped a couple because his preferences lie in individual achievement, not team or national. He has never helped the Swiss team get better.

By the way, I am hermo. Don’t worry about my gender. It should not be that difficult to see Davis Cup is a team event when you reiterate Fed’s 2 wins without even mentioning his loss in the doubles (compare w/ Djoko, who gave 2 singles wins + 1 doubles win w/ Zimo). About “Swift Boating,” only conservative Republicans, who are pro-establishment like yourself, who like to conserve one man’s reign forever, do mud-slinging things. I happen to be anti-establishment of all kinds, at times against the establishment of anti-establishment itself!

I am not so much of a Mass Media’s fetishistic consumer to take for granted everything they write from some global capitalistic perspective, to sell their ideological products. Let me repeat that the proof that you were seeking is the Swiss loss and ejection out of the World Group. Like the way you measure a player’s greatness by counting his Grand Slams, Davis Cup loss is the measurement of egocentrism of those players of that country that has produced arguably the GOAT at the individual level.

Learn to appreciate Fed critically if you want to be his true fan. Your uncritical, blind support makes him look like he is an idiot and make you look like theological person, who only knows to chant empty slogan, “Fed is God.” That is not going to help him at all. If Serbia had lost due to the loss in the doubles, I would be signaling out Djoko despite being his supporter. Djoko took the credit for victory, though, as a nicety, he emphasized on the team’s efforts. As a leader of the team and No. 3 ranking player, he would have to shoulder the loss if Serbia were defeated. Learn something, learn to be critically appreciative, theological fanatics !!

jane Says:

Shital Green –

While you post some whacky things, and some that I disagree with, you have resolve and mettle to admire. Keep posting and shaking things up please. You make me laugh-out-loud, which is much needed respite from reading the earnest essays and postings that some produce.

You go girl, guy, I mean, whatever….

jane Says:

Detect any innuendo here, anyone?

“The mighty Serbian team beat Australia in Belgrade, Serbia, on the red clay chosen by the Serbians, spurred on by a rowdy home crowd of 20,000 Serbs (the third-largest crowd in the Davis Cup’s 108-year history). In his singles matches, Djokovic impressively defeated two players ranked over 90 in the world, Peter Luczak and Chris Guccione, though he struggled a bit against the latter in winning 6-3 7-6(3) 7-6(5). In his doubles match, Djokovic teamed up with Nenad Zimonjic — the world #5 in doubles — yet lost the opening set to Hewitt and Paul Hanley.”

TejuZ Says:

hey.. just thought i would put the quote by Fed about last years Serbia tie… this is from the link which Tony has provided..

When asked about Djokovic appearing injured during their Davis Cup playoff match on Sunday, Federer said, “I don’t trust his injuries, you know.” He then brushed aside the ensuing laughter. “I’m serious. I think he’s a joke, you know, when it comes down to his injuries. The rules are there to be used, not abused. He’s been doing it many times, that’s why I wasn’t happy to see him doing that and running around like a rabbit again. It was a good handshake. I was happy to beat him.”

That was hillarious.

TejuZ Says:

if you think it is the Fed fans whose blind support makes him look like he is an idiot …

well.. Djoker doesnt need any fans for this.. he and his acts and his injury faking makes him look like an idiot and a big Fake. His fans just add more to it..

TejuZ Says:

when is the last time Serbia won on foreign soil??????? on a surface prepared by the opponents???

Lucas Says:

I can’t resist!

I may sound prejudiced but i’m not, its just a joke. I think Shital must be a black fag or a ugly lesbo. I am black myself, but since Shital is so anti-establishment, ” IT ” must be part at some huge minority group to feel this way.

I’m sorry for this post, but i couldn’t help it. LOL!!!

Shital Green Says:

You know what makes Fed look bad precisely your repetition of that quote. Maybe, that is inadvertent on your part, but that is what is happening. If you want me to draw an analogy, here is one. With good intention, one tries to retain his/her culture of the past by resisting change, but, in consequence, s/he is archiving it, that is burying it, not letting it grow and survive. This is what is happening with Fed egomaniac fans and Fed. There are good fans too, e.g. probably the greatest of all Fed’s fans is Pierre Paganini, who does point out what Fed is not doing right and what he needs to do, etc, besides applauding him from the box. But Fed’s egomaniac fans are not Pierre Paganini, Pavel Kovac, Miss Vavrinec, Robert and Lynette (if the egomaniacs can’t recall these names in 5 sec., they don’t know Fed). Fed’s coterie neither speak nor react intolerantly like the way these guys do. I don’t think they will mention that quote either. Certainly, they don’t speak hatefully like one guy is doing above.

You may be not be a bad person, TejuZ, but there are a lot of insensitive and intolerant people here. These people may be worshiping Fed with the intention of making him look good, but the consequence is he is looking bad. They are neither helping him get better by their uncritical appreciation nor earning him more fans for him by convincing them with politeness, expressing respect for difference of opinions in equality, and winning their heart.

Tony Says:

1. jane Says: “Detect any innuendo here, anyone?”

Jane, luv. Of course there’s innuendo, but I sure hope you didn’t think it was subtle. Anyone with common sense would have realized that my comments were directed at Shital – as a response to his earlier comments about Federer, Djokovic and the Sebian team – and that my comments were not intended with malice at the Serbian team or Serbia. Second, unlike you, I don’t make comments of a disparaging nature that are false and have no basis in fact or reality (e.g., jane: ‘sometimes his (Federer’s) comments come across as smug to me… sometimes he seems dismissive – like when he called Djokovic’s Master’s Series win “insignificant” ’). Everything I wrote in that quote is based on facts, including “rowdy home crowd” which was a description from a newsmedia. And in terms of rankings, relative to the Australian team, the Serbian team is “mighty”, i.e., having and showing superior power, skill and strength.

Btw, in the Sports Illustrated blog, I’ve replied why U2 doesn’t compare to Federer.

2. Shital: Most people here — except for your anti-Federer buddies like jane — probably feel that your senseless anti-Federer posts are embarrassing your Serbian team. Sounds like you’re someone who once bought a lot of ideological products and now have paranoia to legitimate information. That explains why much of your posts are based on imagined information and wild conjecture. The basis of your argument — “Swiss loss and ejection out of the World Group” — does not provide any proof other than the fact that, in this tie, the Swiss narrowly lost to one of the stronger teams in the competition.

The issues surrounding the Swiss loss has been well explained by many others, including fact that Davis Cup is a team competition and not a one-man competition. It therefore has no bearing on an individual’s greatness if he more than contributed his part and teammates liked his attitude and friendship. In assessing the greatness of a tennis player, Davis Cup wins are an afterthought. Federer has been playing Davis Cup since 1999, has won 33 matches, and was key to beating the U.S.A. in 2001, among others. The Swiss press would have ripped Federer apart if they believed your ridiculous allegation that Davis Cup loss is the measurement of egocentrism. Instead the Swiss press acknowledged that without Fed’s contributions, Switzerland should have been relegated long ago and emphasized the need for the rest of the Swiss team to improve. Great players cannot win Davis Cup by themselves without at least a second member of the team contributing. Bjorn Borg never won Davis Cup while he was the number one player. Was Borg egocentric, even though he held the longest winning streak in Davis Cup singles (33 wins from 1973 to 1980)? Ivan Lendl never won the Davis Cup while he was the number one player (though he had to stop in 1986). Italy’s Nicola Pietrangeli played in 164 Davis Cup matches (rubbers), but never won a Davis Cup.

You need to learn the meaning of the term ‘egocentric’. And look hard and long at a mirror. Come back at Christmas when you see the light, hopefully.

Shital Green Says:

With regard to Fed and Davis Cup, why didn’t you mention Fed escaped 2005 after the Playoff, costing the Swiss to lose to NED in the World Group 1st Round? And why did Fed escape again in 2006 after the Playoff, costing the Swiss to lose to Aussie in the World Group 1st round? Oh, he was too busy accumulating Grand Slams for personal achievement.
The top 5 of all times have given DC to their countries: Ken Rosewall 3, Rod Laver 5, Pancho Gonzales 1, Pete Sampras 2, and Bill Tilden 7. Roy Emerson, who also has 12 GS, gave 8 DCs to his country. Even Don Budge, who is only one to sweep 4 slams in a year after Laver, had time to give America 2 DCs. And McEnroe had time to play 59 ties to give America 5 DCs.
And, by the way, Borg in 1975 and Lendl in 1980 also had time to give their respective countries Davis Cup trophy, though not while they were No. 1.
What I meant, and I stress this, is one needs Tilden, Budge, Emerson, and McEnroe’s dedication to their countries beyond personal gains: one does not have to win, but you can at least participate in the only event that allows you to represent your country (well, you have Olympics, too). By the way I have some German-Swiss in me from my maternal grandfather’s side, whose concern for Fed is a bit different than yours, and I listen to him sometimes when I go visit him. He goes, “A nation can truly celebrate only when its team representing the nation wins, not when an individual wins a tournament.” I contend that if Fed had not focussed on his own gains, he might not have won 12 GS by this time. You can read this with reference Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy): if you over-emphasize in one area,you gonna be under-emphasizing in another. One has to be rare to balance the energy distribution in all area, but isn’t Fed the most economical player? Well, he lost this year, which I attribute to his under-prep, which is the result of less dedication (remember, in 2001, he with Manta beat a tougher doubles teams like Gambill/Gimelstob and Pioline/ Santoro). Why are those two escapes in 2005 and 2006? There is no justification other than the two meanings the web link that you provided has. If he does have some documented justification other than his over-emphasis on personal achievement, let me hear from any of your brighter brains.

TejuZ Says:

Shital..The same can be said of you and Jane.. u guys and ur fanitical support of him are making Djoker look more bad than he is. Atleast we, Fed fans, have facts and stats to support us where as you have nothing but assumptions and baseless accusations.

If some people change their opinion of Fed because of his fan-base and the way his fans act, thats their problem and their excuse to hate Fed. Doesnt make them look all that sensible.

ross Says:


You should stick to supporting unsporting people like Serena williams. Given your bent of mind, she should be your idol! Always trash talking, always disrespectful of everyone else, and full of shit.

ross Says:

and a sore loser, I might add…

Shital Green Says:

Given the arguments, I now agree with Tony and TejuZ. I am sorry for all my stupid rants earlier. I have seen the light (much before Christmas), and I apologize to fed and all his fans.


Shital Green Says:

Kuijl and Tennis X administrators,
At least you could and should censor this. They cannot use my real name to defame me. The following comment is not mine. Somebody else used my name and posted the comment of apology, and you have the email address and gateway address to track this person. The following comment did not originate from my email address or gateway address:
“Given the arguments, I now agree with Tony and
TejuZ. I am sorry for all my stupid rants earlier. I have seen the light (much before Christmas), and I apologize to fed and all his fans. Peace!”

Whoever you are, what kind of low level person are you to do this? When you run out of argument and facts, is this what you do? So, this is your response to my question: “Why are those two escapes in 2005 and 2006?”

Looking at the level of meanness, you have forfeited the right to call yourself fed’s egomaniac fan. If Fed were to read what you are doing here, he’d certainly disown you. He does not need intolerant and fraudulent people like you!

Kuijl and Tennis X administrator,
Could you reveal this person’s earlier name? A reputed web blog lie yours should pay attention to boundary and certain level of decency. They cannot defame my name. I have a name. I am not a fake like them. Google me up: I am traceable. You will find out who I am and what I do. Let me use a rhetorical strategy here: You should reveal this person’s tennis x identity unless you yourself are doing this to me.

h Says:

Wow, Shital Green, your pleas to Kuijl and tennis x just showed that you are way more stupid and risible than people had thought earlier. You are really full of part of your first name. Let’s put it this way: a reputed web blog like this should indeed pay attention to boundary and a certain level of decency and therefore should bar people like you from posting altogether. Now get a life and get lost.

Lausanne Says:

Shital: Cooool man, please relax a bit, it’s just an internet chat about sport…

I agree that it’s not very correct to post this message using your name but it wasn’t very mean either…

When I read the made-up message, I actually thought that you were right (even though I’m a Fed fan) to conclude the discussion this way, with an humourous and ironic touch…

Tony Says:

Shital (Sept 26th at 10:21 pm): That’s not my style in responding to your question. This is – read this post and my next.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics you mentioned should be changed to ‘if you light a fire without knowing your facts, you’ll end up burning yourself’. It’s now clear that your conjecture, assumptions and innuendo about Roger Federer are baseless when checked against the facts.

As you read the following, remember that a key measure of Davis Cup participation is how many ties a player participates in (a tie is like Switzerland vs. Czech) relative to the available opportunities (available ties each year during his career).

Federer has an excellent DC record compared to other great players, on a relative basis. Remember, Roger Federer was available for 16 of the 19 ties, only missing three 3 ties, in the 9 consecutive years he has played DC. Federer thus has a better participation record than most of the top players you cited! Virtually all top players – both as pros and amateurs – have missed DC ties in their careers as well as missed entire DC years, for whatever reason. In most ties, Federer consistently played three matches (called rubbers) – singles and doubles — to try to carry the entire Swiss team, while many other top players often played what they specialize in (e.g., Agassi played only singles).

Since Federer was selected for the Swiss Davis Cup team in1999 he has not missed playing DC in those 9 years, unlike McEnroe and many others you cited. In the 16 ties Federer participated, he played 44 matches (winning 33). Federer’s 44 matches over 16 ties in 9 years on a weak Swiss team are decent compared to McEnroe’s 30 ties and 69 matches over his 15 year-career. Remember that McEnroe holds these U.S. DC records and he played on stronger American teams which often went deep into each year’s DC series. But Mac also missed 17 ties compared to Federer’s 3 so far.. By the end of his career, Federer probably will have played in more DC matches than McEnroe.

Let’s check Pete Sampras’s DC playing record, shall we? It’s pathetic compared to Federer. In his 15-year pro career, Sampras played in only 16 ties in only 8 years of DC series – a total of only 28 matches, winning only 19. Sampras missed about 7 years of DC series, and about 28 to 30 ties. In 1997, Sweden trashed USA 5-0 with Sampras playing and retiring in one match. Yes, Sampras played in a measely two US wins in 1992 and 1995, but he only played a major role in 1995 (in the 1992 semifinal and final ties he played only doubles with McEnroe). Wait! I’m too generous – in 1995, Sampras missed the entire first round against France, just like Federer did this year.

It’s interesting you left out Jimmy Connors, who played in only 7 DC ties (only 13 matches) during his long career. Federer has played more DC matches than Andre Agassi, also with a long career.

Shital: “I listen to him sometimes when I go visit (my Swiss-German grandfather).”

“Sometimes”? That explains a lot.

As for me, instead of listening ‘sometimes’ to a Swiss-German grandfather, I prefer to listen carefully to the sports experts in the largest Swiss newspapers. It seems the Swiss understand the futility of the Davis Cup, and prefer to have Federer focus on the Olympics rather than DC. They realize that Federer by himself cannot win the Davis Cup unless Wawrinka or someone else can supply the third point. Their honest assessment is that, without Federer, Switzerland would have been relegated long ago. They said that critics like you (who blame Roger for lacking national spirit, being egotistical and being greedy in skipping the first round) are being too simplistic. Below is a crudely-translated article from Blick, probably the largest Swiss newspaper.

Continued on next post…

Tony Says:

Shital (Sept 26th at 10:21 pm): “McEnroe had time to play 59 ties to give America 5 DCs.”

Your fact is wrong (59 ties – it was only 30). But you’re right, what a selfless guy this John McEnroe was. Shall we then use McEnroe as the standard for judging Federer? After all, you cited him, he’s got a fantastic DC record, and he was responsible for reviving U.S. interest in the Davis Cup (which had been shunned by many American players).

The last seven times the USA won the DC was in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1990, 1992 and 1995. McEnroe was on five of those DC winning teams (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1992) during his 15-year pro career from 1978 to 1992. McEnroe set numerous U.S. Davis Cup records, including years played (12), ties (30), singles wins (41), and total wins in singles and doubles (59).

See the following links.

– John McEnroe’s DC win/loss record

– USA DC team win/loss record

McEnroe played in 30 of 47 ties for his country, missing 17 ties. In his 15-year career between 1978 to 1992, John McEnroe played in 12 years of those 15 years. That is, he missed 3 series – 1985, 1986, 1990 – for whatever reason. In those 12 years he played DC, McEnroe played in 30 ties (e.g., USA vs Sweden). In those ties, he played 69 matches (won 59).

Here are the 17 ties which McEnroe missed during his 15-year career:
1979 – Missed Sweden tie
1985 – Missed entire year: Missed Germany and Japan ties (while ranked # 1 or 2; USA lost to Germany)
1986 – Missed entire year: Missed Australia, Mexico and Ecuador ties (while ranked #2 for part of year; USA lost to Australia)
1987 – Missed Paraguay tie (USA lost to Germany with McEnroe playing on home soil in Connecticut, USA; just like the Swiss this year, the USA was relegated from World Group)
1988 – Missed Peru tie (USA beat Argentina to get back into World Group)
1989 – Missed Paraguay and Germany ties (USA lost to Germany)
1990 – Missed entire year: Missed Australia, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Mexico ties (USA won DC without McEnroe)
1991 – Missed France, Germany and Mexico ties (USA lost to France)

Based on Shital’s standards for Federer:

– McEnroe was ‘egocentric’ when he didn’t play for the USA team in 1985, 1986 and 1990. In 1985, McEnroe didn’t play DC even though he was ranked number 1 or 2 that year and had a record 1984 year. In 1986, McEnroe took two breaks for ‘egocentric’ reasons. Thus, using Shital’s principles, McEnroe selfishly let down the USA team when they lost to Germany in 1985 and Australia in 1986. The US did win the DC in 1990, but McEnroe didn’t play on that team, and neither did Pete Sampras who won the US Open that year. In the 1990 series, Brad Gilbert was the key player in the first two ties (R1, QF) but Agassi and Michael Chang replaced Gilbert for the semis and finals (Sampras and Gilbert were ranked higher than Chang at the time).

– McEnroe was also ‘egocentric’ when he missed one to three ties in each of these other years in which the US lost DC ties: 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1991 (USA was relegated from World Group in 1987).

McEnroe became the U.S. Davis Cup captain in September 1999 and was responsible for the 2000 US team. His team barely escaped defeat in their first two outings in 2000, beating Zimbabwe and the Czech Republic in tight 3-2 encounters. They were then whipped 5-0 by Spain in the semifinals. Sampras did not play against Zimbabwe and Spain, while Agassi did not play against Spain. Given the ‘egocentricism’ of Sampras and Agassi, the depleted US team was left to rely on Martin, Spade, Gambill and Woodruff against. McEnroe ‘egocentrically’ resigned in November 2000 after only 14 months as captain, citing frustration with the Davis Cup schedule and format as two of his primary reasons, instead of blasting Sampras and Agassi’s ‘egocentricism’. McEnroe’s own ‘egocentricism’ led him to abandon ship after being captain for only one year, passing the mess to little brother Patrick.

This is unfortunately how we would vhave to view McEnroe if we apply Shital’s standards for Federer on McEnroe, even though Mac did the most for resurrecting U.S. DC.

Tony Says:

Shital (Sept 26th at 10:21 pm): Let’s analyze the remaining players you mentioned. Federer has played more DC matches than all those players in their entire DC career, except for Borg’s 56 matches. As well, in most cases Federer has a better participation record on a relative basis. Thus, if you castigate Federer for lacking dedication to represent his country then you should also apply the same standards to every player you mentioned since none of them played in every DC tie available. In other words, you are making most of the great players you mentioned look selfish, egotistical and greedy because the same concerns you had about Federer could be applied even more to most of them.

Bjorn Borg played in 21 of 28 ties from 1972 to 1981, missing up to 7 ties. Borg missed DC the entire year in 1976, 1977 and 1981, when he was highly ranked.

Ivan Lendl played in 17 of 23 ties from 1978 to 1985, missing up to 6 ties for communist Czechoslovakia. Lendl never played DC after 1985. Federer’s 16 of 19 is a better tie record than a player from a communist state!

What are you not telling us about Laver, Rosewall, Emerson, Gonzales, Tilden, Budge and other amateur-era players? Prior to 1972, the DC tournament was played as a challenge cup — the defending champion advanced directly to the final. The challenger had to play 4 or 5 ties to qualify to meet the defending champion.

Here is Pancho Gonzales’ great DC career record: o-n-e tie (t-w-o matches) in 1949 to win the DC in the final. He never played another DC tie before or after this one tie.

3 of Rod Laver’s 5 DC wins involved playing in only one tie in 1960, 1961 and 1962. Only in 1959 did Laver play in all 6 ties in that year’s series to win the DC. In 1973 DC, when pros were finally allowed to play, Laver played only in the final two ties to win the DC, but missed the first two ties. In total, Laver only played 20 matches (winning 16) in 11 ties. Laver never played another DC tie after 1973, though he retired in 1979.

2 of Ken Rosewall’s 3 DC wins involved playing one tie in 1953 and 1956. Only in 1955 did Rosewall play in all 6 ties to win the DC. In total, Rosewall only played 22 matches (winning 19) in 11 ties. Rosewall never played another DC tie after 1975, though he retired in 1980.

6 of Roy Emerson’s 8 DC wins involved playing in one tie in 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967. Only in 1959 and 1964 did Emmo play in all 11 ties in those two years to win the DC. In total, Emmo only played 38 matches (winning 34) in 17 ties. He never played another DC tie after 1967, though he retired in 1983.

Bill Tilden merely had to play only one tie in 7 of the 10 years he played. That’s how he won 7 DC.

Don Budge only had to play only one tie in the USA in 1938, the year he won the calendar year Grand Slam. Not much different from Federer in 2007 and 2006, when he played in the finals of all four slams, but still played DC for his country.

Thanks to you, Federer’s selflessness, self-sacrifice and dedication to representing his country now looks exceptional compared to other great players. Yet most of those players mentioned did represent their countries very well and made their countries proud, even though you have an unrealistic and idealistic image of what they did.

All this is further proof that most of Federer’s detractors don’t know what they’re talking about. That’s why it’s so necessary to force them to reveal the facts, if any, behind their ‘personal opinions’.

Tejuz Says:

Tony.. nice stats abt the Davis cup record for top players.

Shital Green Says:

I do acknowledge your research. There is certainly some truth. This is the level of conversation we all should engage in, though respecting each others’ difference of opinions. From the same date, we kind draw different conclusions. You should respect this, too.
In the following historical note, why does not Davis Cup salute Fed? I have not read anywhere Fed’s contribution and dedication to his nation with respect Davis Cup is bigger than McEnroe’s, including all the links that you have provided. And your count of ties don’t reflect accurately about a player’s dedication either. Why? If a player participates in only one rubber of a tie, it is counted as his participation in one tie.
However, I admire your dedication to research.

Saluting Our Davis Cup Greats
Taken from: The Davis Cup: Celebrating 100 Years of International Tennis
Author: Richard Evans
Copyright: The International Tennis Federation 1999
URL: http://www.daviscup.com/about/history/saluting.asp

Saluting Our Davis Cup Greats

If you think of any tennis giants from any generation in the game, you can safely bet that they were Davis Cup dynamos for their country. Throughout the history of Davis Cup, which started one summer day in August at Boston’s Longwood Cricket Club in 1900, almost all the greats of the sport enthusiastically participated in the international team competition that pits nations against other nations in a battle for supremacy. When Davis Cup first came into being only Great Britain answered the call to challenge for the Cup. In 1999, as the multi-tiered silver trophy observes its 100th Anniversary, there are 129 nations that answer the call to Davis Cup action.

The first US Team: Malcom Whitman, Dwight F. Davis, Holcombe Ward
The first US Team: Malcom Whitman, Dwight F. Davis, Holcombe Ward
From the time that Harvard student Dwight Filley Davis created the celebrated competition, there’s been a cornucopia of distinguished names to grace the courts for the glory of their homelands. Among the famous racket wielders who’ve made Davis Cup a priority in their careers are: Davis, the Doherty brothers, Norman Brookes, Henri Cochet, Rene Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Fred Perry, Bill Tilden, William Johnston, Ted Schroeder, Don Budge, Lew Hoad, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Nicola Pietrangeli, Tony Trabert, Vic Seixas, Anthony Wilding, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, John McEnroe, Yannick Noah, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Andre Agassi.

It would take a book to talk about all the tennis titans who’s stardom was enhanced by their Davis Cup involvement, so below are just a few of the main men who have helped make the Davis Cup an enduring athletic event. Italy’s Nikki Pietrangeli, these days a handsome gentleman with a shock of white hair and a two-time titlist at Roland Garros, is one of the eminent Davis Cup Ambassadors during this festive year commemorating the competition’s Centenary year.

Pietrangeli, a star of the game in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, was rightly elevated to this lofty stature since it is his honor to be the most prolific Davis Cup player of all time, having participated in both the most Davis Cup matches and the most Davis Cup ties. Pietrangeli, who captained the winning efforts of Italy over Chile in 1976, played 164 matches in 66 ties for his country.

“In tennis, only Davis Cup gives you this opportunity to belong to a team,” said Pietrangeli, at the 1998 Davis Cup final that Italy lost to Sweden. “It’s not only you, there’s many people. If you become friends with everybody, I think it’s a great experience. Really, when you play Davis Cup and you play on a team, it’s something different. That’s what makes Davis Cup such an unbelievable event.”

The 4 Musketeers
The 4 Musketeers: Rene Lacoste, Henri Cochet, Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon
Known forever in tennis circles as “The Four Musketeers,” Rene Lacoste, Henri Cochet, Jean Borotra and Jacques Brugnon led France to their first Davis Cup success by winning the revered competition for six years straight between 1927 to 1932. Lacoste, known as the “Crocodile” a symbol embroidered on the tennis outfits he wore and to this day a recognized emblem on the popular clothing line that bears his name, played in 26 Davis Cup ties, securing a 40-11 winning record.

Cochet was considered the top player in the game for a period of five years in the ’20’s and was known for his lightning fast speed in covering the court and ability to hit shots effortlessly. He played 26 Davis Cup ties in a period of 11 years and his 34-8 record in singles and 10-6 record in doubles gave him an overall 44-14 Davis Cup result.

Borotra was the showboat of the foursome and his Davis Cup career spanned 17 years for a 36-18 overall record. While not exclusively a tandem player, Brugnon’s reputation was definitely tied to doubles. A steady, but not flashy player, Brugnon favored the deuce side of the court, claiming he possessed a weak backhand. His services were called upon for Davis Cup duty on 31 different occasions in an 11 year period, making for a 26-11 winning effort.

In an article written by Lacoste and titled “A Quest for the Cup,” the Frenchman described the unbelievable sensation of finally beating the U.S. in 1927 to bring the Cup home to France for the first time. The “Musketeers” had failed at the mission in the Challenge round against the Americans in the previous two years. “Victory!” Lacoste said. “A simple word. So short — and yet how expressive. The end of an effort begun in 1922: so many matches played in all the countries of the world, so many endless thousands of miles traveled over, so many hopes shattered as soon as formed and today finally realized. The Atlantic crossed and recrossed seven times. Months and months passed in dreaming of this day! “And at last it had come.”

The land “Down Under” has also produced quite a sensational band of blokes to wave the flag bearing the Southern Cross, including Lew Hoad, Harry Hopman, John Newcombe, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Frank Sedgman, and Fred Stolle. But certainly the first true Australian Davis Cup star to guide his country to triumph was Norman Brookes, who started his nine year Davis Cup career in 1905 when Australia and New Zealand competed as Australasia with Kiwi Tony Wilding as the other antipodean star.

Brookes, who was later knighted, was the first player in the game to take the ball on the rise, a style which has certainly made Agassi famous at the other end of the 20th Century. Following a Davis Cup career that ended with a 28-11 winning record which included stints on six winning Australasia squads, Brookes went on to a 29-year presidency of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia.

Brookes’ wife, Dame Mabel, obviously didn’t appreciate the value of the Davis Cup as much as her husband, and described the bowls frequent stays in their home, saying, “He brought the (Davis) Cup back in his luggage with his other cups. You had to do everything yourself in those days. “Nobody much wanted the Cup. It used to sit on our sideboard, and it was so big, it dwarfed everything else. Nothing looked any good at all alongside that darned bath. We put red peonies in it.”

By the time Fred Perry brought the Davis Cup back to Britain in 1933, marking the first time the coveted trophy returned to Britain since 1912, the Cup wasn’t making its home in players living quarters anymore. There was no doubt that Perry was the greatest Englishman to come to tennis since the Doherty brothers — Laurie and Reggie — helped win the Cup for Britain between 1903 and 1906. To this day, Perry holds the record for the most total wins of any Englishman in Davis Cup at 45-7.

When Perry, a son of a Labour member of Parliament, became the first British subject to win Wimbledon since Arthur Gore in 1909 by beating Australian Jack Crawford in 1934, for his first of three consecutive Wimbledon titles, he was quoted as saying, “If I live to be 100, I’ll never play so well again.” That personal opinion was flawed as Perry went on to help Britain to two more Davis Cup victories and to amass a total of eight Grand Slam trophies.

To this day, even as tennis pundits ponder whether Pete Sampras should be considered the best player to ever play the game, there are still plenty of tennis experts insisting “Big” Bill Tilden is the greatest player who ever lived. Tilden, along with another American, Bill Johnston, who was often referred to as “Little Bill” led the U.S. to Davis Cup supremacy between 1920 and 1926. Both Tilden and Johnston began their Davis Cup careers in 1920, with “Big” Bill playing in 17 ties over 11 years and “Little” Bill playing in 10 ties over an eight year period. Tilden had a 34-7 overall Davis Cup record, while Johnston had an 18-3 overall result.

Tilden still holds the U.S. record for most appearances in a Davis Cup final with 11 journeys to the Challenge round for a 21-7 winning edge in finals. When Tilden was 56-years-old he wrote an article entitled “A Viewpoint of the Game” in which he stated the benefits of tennis include helping someone to keep physically fit and that the sport bridges the gap between different cultures.

In his reminiscing, Tilden said, “It was just half a century ago that I lifted a tennis racket for the first time and, with dire results, hit my first tennis ball. There was something about the delightful sound of ball on gut, even if slightly marred by the jingle of glass from the broken window, that entered my soul with a never-to-be forgotten thrill…I urge you play tennis! Tennis is the most valuable sport that any individual can learn, even more so than golf. It is the most universally played of all athletics, and its rules are the same the world over.”

Another American, Don Budge, was referred to as “The Redhead” and is forever known as the first man, and the only man besides Rod Laver, to win the Grand Slam — taking the titles at the Nationals of Australia, France Britain and the U.S. in 1938. Budge played Davis Cup for only four years, but achieved a 25-4 record in 11 ties played, and was on the successful 1937 and 1938 final teams.

Famed New York Times reporter Allison Danzig wrote that Budge turned down a professional contract that guaranteed him $50,000 or more to compete for his country as an amateur for one last year in 1938. “He thought he owed it to amateur tennis, in return for all it had done for him and the opportunity it had given him to see the world, become famous and make something of himself, to remain an amateur for another year and help defend the Cup the United States had been so long in regaining,” Danzig reported.

In later generations, John McEnroe gained a reputation as an innately gifted athlete and the premiere “Superbrat” on the tennis court. He also became revered for his dedication to waving the Stars & Stripes as a regular Davis Cup participant. His Davis Cup record is the most impressive of any Yanks — his 12 years of service is the most of any other of his compatriots, as is the fact that his 30 ties is the most played, his 59-10 record is the most total wins, his 41-8 record is the most singles wins, and at 14-1 he and Peter Fleming were the best ever American Davis Cup doubles team.

Recently, McEnroe, the player who always said “I will go anywhere, any time To play Davis Cup for America,” has been openly critical of today’s top U.S. players ignoring the call to Davis Cup duty and is even expressing a desire to return to Davis Cup service, himself. An active player on the Nuveen Masters tour, McEnroe surprisingly picks his appearance in the 1992 final where the U.S. beat Switzerland 3-1 in Texas as his favorite Davis Cup moment.

“The 92 tie where I played just doubles,” said McEnroe, a member of five of the record 31 victorious U.S. Davis Cup squads. “Being part of what I consider to be a legendary team with Pete (Sampras), Andre (Agassi) and Jim (Courier), and going through the divorce (from ex-wife Tatum O’Neal) I’d just begun, I was feeling emotionally not really capable of playing. I think perhaps that that could be maybe my greatest emotional moment, to be able to be part of that squad.”

But, of course, the first and foremost hero of Davis Cup would have to be Dwight Davis, for without his dream the tennis stars of yesterday, today and the future would not have the shiny sterling cup he donated back in the beginning of the century to try and claim for their nations. While Davis only competed for what often was called “Dwight’s pot” for two years securing a 2-1 career Davis Cup record, he did lead the U.S. to victory in the first two Challenge rounds ever contested in 1900 and 1902.

Nevertheless, without Davis many of the most cherished moments in the annals of tennis would never have taken place. And even shortly before his death in 1946, after a long career as a statesman that included roles as the Secretary of War for President Calvin Coolidge and as Governor-general of the Philippines, Davis was dedicated to the survival of his Davis Cup. Davis told Sir Norman Brookes, by then the president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia, that his vision for the Davis Cup must not be forgotten, saying, “It is meant to travel. Its appearance in any country brings a flock of exterior implications very beneficial to sporting unity in the tennis world and the tennis world is a big world.”

Tony Says:

Shital: “In the following historical note, why does not Davis Cup salute Fed? …Saluting Our Davis Cup Greats…Taken from: The Davis Cup: Celebrating 100 Years of International Tennis… Copyright: The International Tennis Federation 1999”

Why is Federer not acknowledged in this Davis Cup history article? For a simple reason – this outdated article was written at least nine years ago in 1999! This fact is even stated in your own post (see the copyright). The article was probably written BEFORE Federer was even selected to play his first ever Davis Cup match for the Swiss team in 1999. Once again, you don’t know your basic facts, but are eager to jump to conclusions to disparage Federer.

Bottom line, Federer is an active player in the middle of his career and yet his DC contributions and dedication to his country are already excellent – on a relative basis and/or absolute basis – compared to almost all the greatest players in tennis history. In other words, Fed’s Davis Cup record is already exceptional for a great player.

My research and analysis provides a truthful and comprehensive picture. My conclusions are sound because I provided both the number of ties played as well as matches (rubbers) played in most cases. If you know Federer played 44 matches in 16 of 19 ties over 9 years, missing only 3 ties, you can easily compare it with McEnroe who played 69 matches in a U.S. record 30 of 47 ties for his country over 15 years, missing 17 ties. It should be easy to figure out Fed’s relative contribution vs. McEnroe’s. Common sense tells you that McEnroe’s stats are based on an entire 15-year career, while Federer is in the middle of his and would be contributing at about this pace (or better later in his career) for at least another 5 years.

If you can draw different conclusions from the data, please do so to prove your claims.

Otherwise I have proven that your opinions about Federer’s dedication totally lack any merit and are irresponsible. No one should have to respect or condone irresponsible and false opinions which harm someone else’s reputation.

Another one bites the dust.

Shital Dahal Says:

In a deviant way, both times you avoided the real questions: Why did Fed escape 2005 and 2006 when Swiss had a chance to advance? And, the tie counts do not reflect a players’ dedication if a player participates in only one or two rubbers, does it? Show me a single article, no matter how pro-Fed that is, that suggests or claims Fed’s dedication to Switzerland is greater than McEnroe’s to America, with respect to Davis Cup. Remember the topic is Davis Cup, and we are discussing under the article that has Davis Cup as its title. Next, between 1999-2007, Fed has already played for 8 years, and I doubt he will ever match any of McEnroe’s record in Davis Cup.
Since you are so knowledgeable, let me ask you this. What did McEnroe mean when he said above, “The 92 tie where I played just doubles…”?

FoT Says:

Tony, you have proven your point with stats, articles, references, etc. So that’s all you can do. I think Shital Dahal is just blowing out hot water with no substance! lol! So when you get someone like that – you can’t win because these people are not rational and they only want to “win” at all cost – even if their stats are faulty!

Thanks again for your hard work Tony… You rock!

Ecublens Says:

As a swiss citizen, I am very proud and grateful for everything Roger has done for Switzerland, including his numerous and dedicated Davis Cup matches.

Every other guy I know here thinks the same…

Best regards,


Tony Says:

Shital (Sept 30th at 1:13 am): You should meditate on FoT and Ecublen’s wisdom in the previous two posts. Because in a monumentally more “deviant” way, you keep evading the real fundamental issues:

First, in trying to slander Federer, you don’t even understand what you are writing.

– You didn’t understand what a DC tie means, wrongly claiming McEnroe played in 59 ties (Sept 26th at 10:21 pm). As for ‘What did McEnroe mean when he said above, “The 92 tie where I played just doubles…”?’ It’s the year 1992, duh. McEnroe played just doubles in all four ties that year. However, according to your selective standards, you would have to slime his efforts as lacking dedication (since he played only one rubber in each tie).

– You either don’t understand what a rubber means (it’s one of the five matches in a tie)…

– And/or you can’t make sense of simple information. Check the facts before you make further insinuations about Federer’s dedication (e.g., “the tie counts do not reflect a players’ dedication if a player participates in only one or two rubbers”).

– Federer’s record is superior to McEnroe’s based on your own ‘dedication’ measure! Federer played an average of 2.75 rubbers each tie (44 matches over 16 ties) while McEnroe played on average less rubbers each tie (2.3 rubbers based on 69 matches over 30 ties). On the absolute measures, such as number of DC ties and rubbers played, Federer is already on pace to perform quite well relative to most of McEnroe’s excellent DC records since he said he expects to play for another 5 to 9 more years.

No one is stupid enough to write an article that claims McEnroe’s dedication to the U.S. is greater than Federer’s dedication to Switzerland, or vice versa. If you ask McEnroe and Federer, they’d praise the other for contributing to their respective countries.

Second, you must first answer the following questions:

– For every player who has won at least one grand slam in tennis history, how many DC ties have each of them missed in their career?

– For each and every one of those missed ties, what are all the reasons those ties were missed? For example, why didn’t Nadal play in the 2007 tie (Spain vs Switzerland)? Why didn’t Hewitt play in the 2006 tie (Australia vs Switzerland)? Now keep giving answers for every other tie Nadal and Hewitt missed in their careers. When you’re done, continue giving answers for the few hundred ties missed by all other grand slam champions in tennis history who had contributed to their countries wherever feasible.

If you can answer these two simple questions, I promise I will answer your question why Federer did not play in only three ties — first round ties in 2007 (Spain), 2006 (Australia) and 2005 (Netherlands). Hmmm, did I say only three ties missed? Wow.

Third, unless you’re a Swiss citizen, it’s not your business to demand who should play on the Swiss team. You need to get permission from Ecublens before you ask any further questions about the Swiss citizen Roger Federer’s dedication to the Swiss Davis Cup team.

Tejuz Says:

Well said Tony.. you really debate hard. I like reading your posts and also Grendel’s and tennis-Masta’s

Tony Says:

Thanks Tejuz,

jane Says:

Tony says to Shital: “innuendo and smears are cheap.”

Tony says to moi: “Of course there’s innuendo, but I sure hope you didn’t think it was subtle.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. It’s okay for you to use innuedno because you didn’t mean it “maliciously” against the Serbs.

Yeah right.

And please don’t call me “luv” – it’s condescending.

Tony Says:

Jane, you’re not playing nice. You’re misrepresenting things by deliberately quoting out of context.

Regardless, you should have realized that I was playing with you when I wrote “of course there’s innuendo”. Think: How could there be ‘innuendo’ if what I wrote does not fit the definition of innuendo? What I wrote was neither indirect nor subtle, was all based in facts, and was not derogatory. It was meant to be sarcastic. Innuendo means an indirect or subtle insinuation about a person of a derogatory, disparaging or malicious nature.

Anyone who wants to learn the truth can check the following posts:

1. Sept 25th at 6:02 pm: Here was jane trying to sound cute (and take a pot shot at me)

2. Sept 26th at 2:49 pm: In response, here was Tony trying to sound cuter. Read the context that jane deliberately left out in order to slime me as using innuendo.

3. Sept 25th at 12:08 pm: Jane’s quote came from my earlier post to Shital. My post was a response to Shital’s baseless but disparaging innuendos against Federer and Lleyton Hewitt. My post was obviously aimed at Shital. Since Shital was slinging mud at Federer and Hewitt, I sent him a few truths about Shital’s Djokovic and the Serbian team. Except unlike jane and Shital – both of whom made false innuendos and other disparaging comments against Federer – everything I wrote was based on facts (except for one tiny bit of sarcasm – “impressively”).

Irene Says:

Agree 100% with Tejuz. Tony, TennisMastas and grendel’s posts make the most sense. Tony backs it up with facts which forces Shital, etc. to think before making wild claims. Like reading it all, so keep sharing with us.

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