Former U.S. Davis Cup captain John McEnroe says Swedish captain Mats Wilander and crew made a blunder when choosing a fast indoor carpet to host the U.S. in this Friday’s Davis Cup semifinals.
“I feel like they played into our hands really,” McEnroe told the BlackRock Tour of Champions senior tour where he is this week playing an event in Paris. “I’d be surprised if we didn’t win pretty comfortably, really. I know [Thomas] Johansson has had some good results in the past on hardcourts but [Andy] Roddick just destroyed him at the [US] Open and it’s hard to see Sweden winning three matches.”
The Swedes will likely go with Johansson and Joachim Johansson, returning from injury, in singles, with their big gun Robin Soderling sidelined with a wrist injury.
McEnroe commented that there will also be pressure on the U.S. captain, his brother Patrick, to end the U.S.’s 12-year drought.
“I’m a little bit tight for my brother just because he’s being doing it for a while and hasn’t won it yet and the pressure’s on,” said McEnroe, who coached the U.S. team for only one year after quitting in disgust at how difficult it was to get then-players Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi to play. “But I think that the cards have fallen for him this year and playing Sweden there is difficult but it’s better than playing Argentina down in Argentina. He’s had some pretty good things happen and now if we get to the finals we’ll probably play at home so I think it looks good for us.”
The winner of the U.S.-Sweden clash will face either Russia or Germany in the final. Roddick and James Blake will represent the U.S. in singles.
Joachim Johansson hasn’t played a match in eight months due to various injuries and opens against Roddick. The Swedes have history on their side as three times the Americans have visited Gothenburg’s Scandinavium arena in a semifinal or final, and three times the U.S. has left losers.
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