Fish Puts U.S. Back in Davis Cup World Group; Federer Missing
by Staff | September 19th, 2010, 4:04 pm


France d. Argentina 5-0

The French blanked the Argentines on their home lightning-quick indoor hardcourt, where on Friday Michael Llodra defeated Juan Monaco in four sets, and Gael Monfils did likewise to David Nalbandian. On Saturday Llodra teamed with Arnaud Clement to stake the tie, defeating Argentina’s Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos in straight sets.
“Playing Serbia [in the final], well that’s another story,” said French captain Guy Forget. “You know how hot the crowd will be over there, wanting to win the Davis Cup for the first time. It would be a nightmare for the players but they’re not young and they have experience and will be ready for the task. They will have to play at their best and if we do that and win it will be one of the biggest upsets in Davis Cup, like we did a few years ago in Australia.”

Serbia d. Czech Republic 3-2

Novak Djokovic defeated Tomas Berdych in four sets to force a deciding fifth rubber, then Janko Tipsarevic continued the Serb heroics, defeating Radek “The Worm” Stepanek in straights.

Djokovic injured his knee against Berdych, but returned to the court with strapping below the right knee. “It woke me up,” Djokovic said of the fall and injury. “I didn’t feel great at the start of the match, Tomas was playing much better, and I needed something to happen, so maybe it was a sign.”

It is the first trip to the World Group final for Serbia.


U.S. d. Colombia 3-2

American Mardy Fish was the iron man of the weekend, winning his opening singles on Friday, the doubles on Saturday with partner John Isner, and on Sunday winning a marathon 8-6 in the fifth set over Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo. Giralso earned a break late in the fifth set but could not serve out the match.

The 29-year-old and Isner on Saturday needed four sets to defeat Colombia’s Robert Farah and Carlos Salamanca.

Kazakhstan d. Switzerland 5-0

Roger Federer let Switzerland slide into obscurity, and also perhaps Federer’s chance of winning the Davis Cup before his career ends, when Switzerland was swept 5-0 by Kazakhstan in the Davis Cup World Group Playoffs. Federer ducked out of the match, citing a need for rest after losing in the semifinals of the US Open.

Kazakhstan was appearing in its first Davis Cup World Group Playoffs since becoming a Davis Cup nation in 1995, while Switzerland by contrast had spent only one year (2008) out of the World Group in the last 15 years. Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev defeated Marco Chiudinelli in the first match Friday, then Mikhail Kukushkin shocked Stan Wawrinka in five sets. Golubev and Yuriy Schukin then sealed the deal in the doubles, defeating Swiss Yves Allegro and Wawrinka. Switzerland now drops into zonal competition for 2011.

India d. Brazil 3-2

Down 0-2 after Friday, the Indian squad rallied over Saturday and Sunday, going undefeated over the two days to shock Brazil and advance into the World Group for 2011. The legendary doubles squad of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes put India on the board Saturday in straight sets, setting the table for Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna to redeem themselves on Sunday.

Devvarman won the Sunday opener when opponent Thomaz Bellucci retired from heat exhaustion in the second set, and Bopanna played inspired serve-and-volley tennis to straight-set Ricardo Mello in the decider.

Austria d. Israel 3-2

Down 1-2 after the Saturday doubles, Jurgen Melzer evened the tie after the first Sunday singles, rolling Dudi Sela in straight sets, setting the table for the unheralded Martin Fischer who came from a set down to defeat Harel Levy in four.

“I knew I was good enough to beat Harel,” said the Davis Cup rookie Fischer. “I just played my game and even though the crowd was very loud I made myself think that they were screaming for me.”

Sweden d. Italy 3-2

Robin Soderling clinched the tie in the first singles on Sunday, beating Italy’s Simone Bolelli in straight sets. Italy’s Potito Starace claimed Italy’s only live point in the first match on Friday, allowing Andreas Vinciguerra only six games.

The Italians blew a 2-0 set lead in the doubles on Saturday. “A different surface and, I think, a different player now,” said Bolelli, who had beaten Soderling before on clay, but found the match a different matter on the slick indoor hardcourt. “He was strong also when I played him, but now he’s five in the world, he’s won many important matches, he’s improved a lot. His serve was almost impossible to play today.”

Germany d. South Africa 5-0

Philipp Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer did the initial damage for the host Germans on Friday, jumping out to a 2-0 lead when Kohlschreiber defeated Rik de Voest in straights, and Mayer overcame unheralded Izak Van der Merwe in a fourth-set tiebreak. The German doubles specialist squad of Andreas Beck and Christopher Kas sealed the tie on Saturday, topping de Voest and Weslie Moodie in four sets to retain their spot in the 2011 World Group.

Romania d. Ecuador 5-0

Ecuador floundered without Nicolas Lapentti as Romania’s Victor Hanescu and Adrain Angur lead the home country toward victory with Friday singles victories. On Saturday Hanescu and Horia Tecau sealed the tie in the doubles, easily defeating Giovanni Lapentti and Ivan Endara in straight sets.

Australia leads Belgium 2-1

Heavy rains have postponed the tie until Monday, with Australia leading 2-1, and Aussie Peter Luczak and Belgian Olivier Rochus tied at 4-4, 15-all. Luczak replaced former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, who strained his wrist during the straight-set Saturday doubles win for Australia.

If the rubber advances to a fifth live match, penciled in are Carsten Ball for Australia and Steve Darcis for Belgium.

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85 Comments for Fish Puts U.S. Back in Davis Cup World Group; Federer Missing

Fot Says:

Roger can’t do it alone. The Davis Cup is a TEAM event and the Swiss team isn’t deep.

guy Says:

you don’t need a ‘deep team’ when you have federer and another top 20 guy.
federer will win almost all his matches esp on indoor and wawrinka will win most of his. they can both also play great on clay and they won doubles gold together.

look at czech, they play with only two guys, lesser players, and do very well.

everybody knows the swiss would be contenders if federer put the same effort in as basically every other top ten guy has – djoker,nadal,davydenko,roddick,berdych, all the spanish and french etc.
but noone likes to criticise the so called GOAT

the laughable thing is federer likes to talk about how important it is for him to be a leader and how much he enjoys it. if you don’t want to play davis cup it’s not a crime, but then drop the rolemodel, great leader bullshit. it’s a joke.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Your “deep team” scenario is BS, of course it matters.. 2 guys vs a legion of quality spaniards as an example? Another Fed hater statement. When someone else can play all Davis cups and win 16 GS then your argument may hold water. Tennis is NOT a team sport except for Davis cup., Agassi and Sampras bailed plenty of Davis cups in there time for there own interest in singles titles. WTF? Davis cup is a whole different category within the sport.

montecarlo Says:

Federer and Wawrinka won doubles Gold @ Olympics. So they should be taken as kinda sure bet against anyone in doubles. Federer was favourite to win against any opponent on any surface in singles for so many years(apart from Nadal). Federer could have easily won all ties (apart from against spain) on his own by winning his three matches. Besides him Wawrinka is a decent singles player himself and if Federer joined him he would have played even more confidently in singles. Chiudeneli could have been used wisely as well.

Its funny to hear Federer’s BS about Davis Cup needing a deep team. Comeon man, you guys already got the second best team in the world if not the Best. What else you want?

The thing is Federer never really gave importance to DavisCup. If he wanted it, he could have atleast won a couple of daviscups by now. Things are different now, Federer is vulnerable and his obsession for increasing GS number is higher than ever coz he can sense the Nadal Train approaching him now. In such conditions I doubt he will risk playing Davis Cup again. Grow up Man, learn something from Leander Paes. This guy has given his 200% for his country every single time.

topspin Says:

agreed completely.

Serbia – Djoko and Tipsaveric and they are in the final

With Roger and Stan the swiss team could definitely make it to the finals, just too bad Mr. Federer can’t be bothered to play Davis cup.

Skeezerweezer Says:

It’s funny how you folks will dig up anything too rake away Feds accomplishments and records. Look at it this way, do you think he would have gotten those if he played team sport stuff? The jealousy continues…..

So YOU think he should have played Davis cup, so many champs have not, is it s requirement? This is “fodder talk”.

Ben Pronin Says:

I’ve never warmed up to Fish, even with his weight loss and recent success. But boy do I have a lot of respect for him after this weekend. I watched both of his singles matches on and off and it wasn’t the highest quality from any of the 3 guys. The court seemed unbelievably slow and no one looked comfortable out there. But Fish pulled through in the clutch on what I would say is the worst surface ever for his game (only 8 aces in 5 sets tells you everything). And he’s the first American to win 3 points in 15 years (I’m guessing Sampras was the last, but I could be wrong). Great stuff, well done to Fish and the Americans.

I’m also really glad Serbia won. Tipsy pulling off 2 huge upsets (well I don’t know if him beating Stepanek is an actual “upset”). Nonetheless, congratulations to them. They fought hard. And it’s also nice to see the Czechs backing up last year’s final with a semifinal run. It’s too bad Stepanek is aging. Perhaps if they get another good young player, Berdych could lead the team all the way in the next few years.

France blitzing Argentina is huge. Absolutely monstrous. As much flack as Monfils gets for not caring about his individual career, the guy always brings it when he has to play for his country. Also nice to see Llodra continuing his run of good play recently.

The final should be awesome. I think the biggest factor will be Djokovic. He’s the favorite against anyone in singles and it’ll really depend on how fit he is by the time the final rolls around. He has a lot of points to defend in the next few weeks and if he has similar success to last year, he could be fatigued. Luckily the Serbs showed that they don’t have to rely on Djokovic all the time.

As much as I would love to see Federer devote himself to DC at least for one year to get the title, this is probably the worst time to argue against him. To say Wawrinka is enough would’ve been fine a week ago, but 0-5 to Kazakhstan? Really? Wawrinka has no business losing to Kukushkin, even in DC.

Twocents Says:

Placing DC low on his priority list is a very smart, cool, realistic, strategically significant, and HUMBLE decision from the Swiss maestro.

I don’t understand why people call it a selfish decision: lacking DC on his resume hurts Fed much more than any other Swiss. Cocky and vain as some call him, you’d think Fed would love to play big show stages like DC where he also got fawned over by his teammates. I don’t think Fed’s lying stating that DC is important for him. It’s more like that after his early full commitment in DC (and failed to even reach final), Fed had bitter lessons of how tough it is to try to win DC when you don’t have a deep team, and how much it affects your season as a pro. Thus he decided to focus on his singles and let DC go, at the age of 23?

I highly admire and applause any players committing to represent their country. I also equally admire Fed’s give and take comprimise. It’s not easy to do, especially for highly talented and ambitious tennis players. Would we still witness his unprecedented singles achievement had Fed committed himself to DC as much as Boris Becker did? I don’t think so.


how low can GUYs stoop to defame federer. it is as futile an effort as spitting at the sun.

the spit lands smack on your face.

zola Says:

I do not agree that the depth in the Swiss team is less than that in Kazakhstan ( to whom they lost 0-5!)or even Serbia ( who are now in the final), or the current US team.

On the other hand, I do not think Federer should blamed for the loss to Kasakhstan. Couldn’t Wawrinka and Allegro win even one match? Come on!

On the same note, then the US team should have lost because they didn’t have Roddick or the Bryans.

My guess is that Federer thought (wrongly!) that their DC team would be OK against a country with no significant tennis player. The simple truth is that the Swiss team did not do their job. They should have won at least their singles. 5-0 is a shame, but for Wawrinka and Allegro and not for Federer.

Twocents Says:

From this Fedtard’s eyes, Fed’s DC participation makes perfect sense: from 2004 to 2009 he always played the relegation round – to keep Switzerland in WG, and that round is after all 4 slams but way before YEC. He’d then look at each year’s DC WG draw and his own physical and game status to decide if he’s give it a shot for a DC win. Unfortunately, he has not found one for Swiss so far, and they were even relegated in 07 relegation round (losing to Czech 2:3 with Fed won his two singles match but lost double in 5). Since 2008, Fed’s own physical decline has made even the late season relegation round a huge challenge: after winning USO08, Fed and Stan led Swiss back to WG by beating Belgium. Out of overjoy of winning Olympic gold, USO08, and bringing Swiss back to WG, Fed agreed to play 09 1st round DC against USA. But he was lacking fitness training all thru 2008 due to mono bout. After DC tie in September, he had to withdraw from Stockholm Open, and he began to have back trouble since Madrid Indoor. It lasted thru the whole indoor 08 and to early part of 09. He withdrew from 09 1st round DC, to give his back time to heal. He had a great summer in 2009. But right after losing USO09 final in 5 sets, he flew to Genoa to play DC relegation, with back and thigh troubles. He withdrew from Shanghai Masters afterwards, and had a very mediocre indoor season.

I’m glad that Fed skipped 2010 DC relegation round: 08 relegation round did not help his YEC08 and AO09, and 09 relegation round may have cost his 286 weeks at no.1. It’s all give and take. IMHO, he should rate his longevity ahead of anything else, at this stage of his career.

If you see the huge applause the Swiss team enjoyed unpon their entrance to the Olympics in Beijing in front of the world – second only to the host country, you’d think Fed had done an excellent job representing his country.

Ben Pronin Says:

You’d think Fed’s never played DC or something. His record in DC is 37-11. Compare that to 16-5 for Nadal. And Nadal has, what, 3 titles to his name? Nadal’s skipped a good number of ties over the years, too, but it’s gone fairly unnoticed because Spain has been very successful with or without him. You can even say Nadal playing is just a bonus for the fans, not really a necessity for the team. That just isn’t the case for Federer.


two cents :

nice slap across the face for any fed hating GUY.

great post.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Nice posts. I don’t have the time to dig up stats on DC stuff, but nice read. Thanks everyone :). And in no way IMO am I takin away any other player that plays for DC. I was blesses to see a DC match years ago and it was the funnest tennis event by far!

zola Says:

I do not remember Rafa skipping a DC tie unless he had serious injury. Also Rafa is 5 years younger than Federer and perhaps was on tour 2-3 years after Roger. So the win-loss stat really does not make sense.

I think this is a baseless discussion. If Switzerland had won over Kazakhstan, no one would have criticized Federer. Now, he is being blamed for that loss and that is nonsense too. Where were Wawrinka and Allegro? That team did not need Federer to win. That is the simple fact.

I think dragging other players and the depth of the team etc. to this discussion just make things more complicated. The first question to be asked is :Why didn’t the Swiss team win even one match against Kazakhstan?


and the slaps keep coming. lol….

guy could have bent over in a prison and still he would not have seemed as stupid as he does now.

Twocents Says:

DC is important to male pro tennis players — like mother-in-law to husband.

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not trying to take anything away from Nadal, don’t get me wrong. I’m just pointing out that Fed’s played a lot of DC because people are acting like he’s participated in 1 or 2 ties and that it’s completely unacceptable. The point really is that Switzerland does not have a deep team and that puts a lot of pressure on Fed. Serbia was brought up as an example of a two-man team but that’s not true. Serbia is pretty lucky that they have a doubles specialist. I mean let’s look at the champions in the last few years: US has the Bryans and at least 2 solid singles players for all ties, Spain has something like 5 or 6 top 20 players, Russia and France have 5 or 6 top 30ish players. Argentina has been struggling to win a title for years now and they have a deeper team than Switzerland, but it’s not as deep as the other teams.


lol @ two cents – you are on fire. thanks for the laughs.

zola Says:

Switzerland lost to Kazakhstan. So the only comparison (of depth, players,…) should be between Switzerland and Kazakhstan. The Swiss team was deep enough for that tie and they lost. That is the fact.

Now, if Switzerland had lost to a high profile country in a final or SF or something like that just because Federer did not show up, that would have been an argument. What I am saying is that Federer had nothing to do with this misery. Wawrinka and Allegro should not be hiding behind Federer. They accepted the responsibility and should have done their job. Had they won 5-0, all the credit would have gone to them too.

Ben Pronin Says:

Well, Golubev isn’t a bad player. But I agree, the loss wasn’t Federer’s fault. I’ll say it again, Wawrinka has no business losing to Kukushkin.

zola Says:

***Wawrinka has no business losing to Kukushkin.***


that is what I am saying too.

Kimberly Says:

wawrinka could hardly move by the end of the us open. If Federer really cared about Davis Cup he would have been out there. But obviously he did not. Not faulting him for it. Just making an obvious statement that it is probably his priority to try to finish the year on a high note and a higher ranking. Some players really value Davis Cup and others do not. Sampras and Agassi weren’t great. Roddick has always been pretty supportive until this year. The Armada is into it. But after winning two it clearly wasn’t a priority to Rafa this year (he went partying at the World Cup and on the beach after Wimby). Serbia is a very nationalistic country and Novak will show up in a body bag if need be as he is the backbone of the team.

zola Says:


Why wasn’t wawrinka able to move? He went out a couple days earlier than federer who played a 5-set match against Djokovic.

Djoko played against Federer and Rafa and went to play two matches and won one of them. I don’t think exhaustion was an excuse for Wawrinka.

If you do not remember how Rafa retired from the DC, let me remind you that he had knee injuries and had to go under treatment for both knees. Doesn’t mean he had to be on a wheelchair, but could not run on the hard courts for 2 days. Sitting on a plane does not require great fitness!
He was not even able to practice. Saying he ditched his team to go partying is a bit ( or very) unfair!

zola Says:

and he lives in an island. So going to the beach is not a big crime either!

Kimberly Says:

zola-Rafa’s my boy, but he could have played if it was important. It was more of a priority to win the US Open (as it should have been). And celebrate his victory at Wimby. But believe me, if it was of A+ importance to Rafa, he would have been there guns blazing. Its not a crime to not rank Davis Cup as highly as grand slams especially when your country has won two in a row.

But lets be honest. He went to watch spain in the world cup final (possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity) and lounge around the beach with his girlfriend (well deserved relaxation).

I would venture to say if Spain was playing to retain their status in the world group Rafa would have showed and the knee treatments would have waited a week.

RIght now Roger’s individual career is important to him and he wants to take steps to prevent furthur downward spiral.

Wawrinka limped out of the us open. Novak played more but Wawrinka was a mess when he he lost to Youzney. He had heavy strapping around his thigh, etc.

Twocents Says:

In DC relegation 2009, Fed had his thigh wrapped in the locker room during the rain delay in his singles match against Potato (sp?) of Italy. But he had it taken of before he stepped back on court to seal the win for the Swiss.

Stan was injured and he gave all he had on court. Same as Marco and others. Good fight!

And my mother-in-law is very very important to me.

Twocents Says:


No problem. Have fun :-)).

zola Says:


yes, I think if the world depended on Rafa, he would have lost a leg to do it. But he had to go through therapy. He had injections on both knees just before he left for South Africa and he was not able to practice for days afterwards. So I don’t know if he could have been on the team anyway. He was not able to run on hard courts even of he did not go to South Africa. Walking on the sand and swimming in the sea do not put any pressure on the knee. So I don’t understand what the big deal is. He had three , four months of play and that was his week at home! I think we need to have realistic expectations from these players.

I do not know Wawrinka’s conditions but if he was injured and played, then kudos to him. If not, then he shouldn’t have lost to world number gazillion. What about Allegro and the other guy? I am sure they were higher ranked than the Kazakh team.

Kimberly Says:

dont they have some chuidinelli guy for switzerland?

ANd, if I was Rafa i prob would have thought the rest of the team could have gotten it done. I mean they have a very deep team, ferrer, verdasco, almagro, robredo, montanes, lopez etc. I think France has been shocking everybody.

Fot Says:

I say it again. Unless you have a “TEAM”, it’s really hard to win the DC championship. Roger is EXPECTED (not people hoping…but is EXPECTED) to win 3 ties in every DC match he plays in. 2 singles/1 doubles. That’s a lot of matches for anyone to play for every Davis Cup. Even Djokovic didn’t play all 3 matches this weekend.

The Americans (in the past) have had a great bonus with the Bryan brothers playing, leaving only their single players to concentrate on singles). France and Spain are loaded!

I say it again. The DC format needs to be changed. Seems like everytime we finish a major, the next week we’re talking about Davis Cup. And then when a nation wins it one year – seems like they have to defend within the next 3 months! When do they ‘enjoy’ holding the cup? At least the Ryder Cup in golf is every 2 years. DC needs to follow a similiar format.

Finally, as a Die-hard Federer fan – I thank God he has concentrated on the slam more so that DC. I’m from America. I could care less if the Swiss every win Davis Cup – but I’m so proud that Roger has 16 slams since he’s my favorite. I can do the ‘team thing’ in the Olympics. Heck, I have to think hard to remember who won Davis Cup last year? lol! Seriously!

If a team wins it – great; if they don’t – fine too. But I follow the slams and master’s events way more than I do Davis Cup. Some really love it and that’s fine. I’m not one who does. I like to root on my favorite player and he happens to just not be an American like myself.

grendel Says:

what was Orson Welle’s comment in The Third Man? “What have Switzerland achieved in the last 500 years apart from peace – the cuckoo clock!” Something along those lines. Of course, that was in the days before Federer.

What, actually, is the purpose of winning the DC? Well, it makes people feel good. But why does it do that? Some sort of reflected glory, I suppose. Two Cents and Ben have already made the point that Federer hasn’t done so bad in terms of DC duty. Zola has also pointed out that it was reasonable to suppose that Wawrinka and co should have taken care of Kazakstahn. But I want to make another point.

The glory – since for good or bad people seem to want this – which Federer’s fame reflects on Switzerland is hugely greater than anything which DC triumph could confer. Looked at in this way,you could argue that Federer is doing more of a public service by – on the whole -concentrating on his career rather than dedicating himself to team tennis. If Federer can win another slam (possible) or even better another 2 (unlikely imo), he will put his grand slam haul a little bit further beyond the reach of the chasing Nadal. This will matter enormously to the Swiss people, as of course it will to Federer himself. Here, his own personal ambitions coincide with the interests of his country.

Of course, he sacrifices nothing in attainng his goals, should he do so, and therefor earns no merit in terms of public service. But that is hardly his fault. Rather, it is his good fortune that what is good for Federer turns out to be good for Switzerland. However, the other side of this coin is that it is grotesque to sneer at him for not doing more team tennis. It is logically invalid, as I hope I have shown, as well as being plain unpleasant.

sar Says:

Serbia is a very nationalistic country and Novak will show up in a body bag if need be as he is the backbone of the team. (kimberly)


zola Says:

I think the depth of the team is irrelevant. You have number 1 in the history , a decent top 20 and another top 100. The depth is much better than that of Kazakhstan or Serbia or Czech Republic. You argue that the Serbian have the GS winners in doubles, I argue that the Swiss have the Olympic medalists.

And why id Federer expected to play 3 matches? If he wins 2 singles and Stan wins one, they have it in the bag. Since when Stan has been demoted to being a zero?

I agree with Grendel that perhaps having 17 GSs is better than a probable win over Kazakhstan. But the next GS isn’t here till January. So that argument is out of the window. Why Fed chose not to go? That is up to him. It is a bug sacrifice to fly to the other side of the world right after a 5-set match in a GS semifinal. I think the Swiss team just underestimated the Kazakhs and got burned. That’s it. But the bottom line; to blame Federer for such a loss is ridiculous.

zola Says:


bug sacrifice = huge sacrifice
among other typos!

Skeezerweezer Says:


You’re right it’s up to him, no one else, so who are we to judge?. On a personal level don’t forget he has his own family now to consider also, two little ones and a very supportive wife. Hasn’t he contributed enough the the game of tennis? It doesn’t bother this fan if he takes the rest of his remaining tennis life and decides to spend it on his own terms….

Eliza Says:

I think Serbia definitely has more better players, and a specialist doubles team, than Switzerland, where Roger has to play all three days. But as Djokovic gets older, he will come to the same realisation Federer has, that it’s just too hard on the body to play a lot of DC and try to stay at the very top in singles.

Federer certainly played an awful lot of Davis Cup in his younger years but gradually became disillusioned that one person could do a lot without adequate backup. (Rather like Murray knows the same thing.) Now at least Fed has one other decent player but he’s getting too old to be able to do too much. At his age, and with the injuries he’s had he has to pace himself.

Playing this equivalent round last year, when he said everything was hurting, cost him a decent indoor season and set him up for losing the #1 ranking one week before breaking the record.

I think he probably assumed the team could beat Kazakstan without him but of course no-one foresaw the whole team getting ill before the start.

grendel Says:

“But the next GS isn’t here till January. So that argument is out of the window.” (Zola).

Actually, that may not be true. As I understand it, these guys plan their schedules very carefully indeed, especially as they get older, in a way which is more or less unintelligible to anyone who is not a pro. So, for example, the Federer team may decide that doing well in 1 or 2 of the final masters tourneys of the year, including O2, may be important stages in the planned assault on the AO – both in terms of possible slight experimentation where it counts (in real matches) and with the view to gaining confidence, which is probably quite low at the moment. Playing in the Davis Cup may well interfere with such a schedule.

I have no idea whether this is the case or not. But it is perfectly plausible.

grendel Says:

“As Ivanovic explained in an interview in 2007: “Everyone seemed to think Serbs were bad people and I never felt I was welcome. It was hard for us. At every airport, immigration control always seemed to take longer for us than the other players.

“We had to explain what we were doing going into whatever country. There was so much trouble over visas.”

To succeed in an individual sport you need a chip on the shoulder, a hunger and a desire to succeed at all costs – something the Serbian players seem to have and which the vast majority of British players lack.

You could see that overwhelming desire in the Serbian team that played against the Czech Republic in Belgrade at the weekend, and hear it in the impassioned cheers of the fans that came to watch them.” (Eurosport).

This is isn’t conclusive. The Spanish players, for example, who are so successful, come from largely middle-class and prosperous backgrounds. So there are undoubtedly different avenues to success.

Still, the explanation for Serbian success – which once was explicable as a statistical blip – is in its way convincing. In Britain, we have rather a comfortable, privileged even as the world goes, sort of existence. We are a touch complacent (which perhaps the Spaniards are not). That is not an ideal breeding ground for sporting success – and it is very interesting that throwing money at the problem, big money, not only does not help in the fostering of tennis champions, it seems to positively hinder the process.

These days, when money is supposed to be the measure of everything, this is quite surprising, and probably accounts for the hair pulling antics of the supremos of British tennis. They just don’t know what to do.

Perhaps we should start a civil war.

Leon Says:

Oh, Grendel, you are all English, indeed (to your last sentence @6.58)! I even can’t decide whose part is greater in that (Swift’s? Orwell’s? Aldington’s? so on).

Well, tennis is for intellectuals, but perhaps not to such extent (God forbid! civil war…).

Have read the previous posts and…that’s why I don’t enjoy Davis Cup too much. Even Olympics. Always risky to touch not national but nationalistic strings. And tennis, being in essence individual sport, must be far of that as long as possible.
(And sorry…how high does the ATP rank these events? 400 or 800 pts for an Olympic winner? What, less than a Masters? Oh, I understand all the stuff, but go figure…)

Of course, it’s silly to blame Federer. As well as to compare his and somebody’s else attitude, etc.
My two cents: Yes, he is Swiss (btw, Switzerland definitely has some people to be proud of even without him). But even more he is a true cosmopolitan, first of all because he is adopted by many millions of people (not only his fans) as an ambassador of tennis. In this sense, NOW to play for a certain country even looks a bit unnatural. Sure, it’s a hyperbola, but not too strong, I think.

tennis coach Says:

To Kimberly: for the record, get it right, Serbia is not nationalistic country. Novak is playing because he loves his country and there is no Serb that would hurt Novak. He is Serbian hero!

jane Says:

“what was Orson Welle’s comment in The Third Man? “What have Switzerland achieved in the last 500 years apart from peace – the cuckoo clock!” ”

I love that ferris wheel speech; the whole film is just brilliant. Taught it last spring and kept humming that damn zither music for weeks. Should be required viewing for any film junkie, most definitely one who likes thrillers & film noir.

jane Says:

Steve Tignor’s latest blog is about appreciating Davis Cup more as fans:

Polo Says:

Why do I have this feeling that Federer only cares about himself?

Annie Says:

This statment that the Serbians are nationalistic makes me laugh. Who waves their flag more than the Americans? I’m Canadian and we get knocked for not being patriotic enough. Every country has a national pride so why criticize Serbian players for loving their own?

margot Says:

Twocents@ 1.14: remember women turn into their mothers ;)
FOT @ 4,30: yes, mainly agree with you. DC definately needs adjustment. Only thing I’d say is tennis is such a lonely sport Davis cup gives opportunity to play as a team. Also, when it was played in UK up North where there is NO tennis normally, and Andy was playing, stadium was full of kids. Nice.
Zola@ 6.15 “bug sacrifice” yikes, sounds awful! :)
grendel@ 6.58: interesting but surely thesis falls flat with eg of the Swiss and Fed? BTW re civil war, if Tories slash front line services, I shall be on the streets. C u there?
jane: 10.35: Fabulous, fabulous film but what a tragedy to make your best film first. Like Tarantino.

zola Says:

I know! I have a great talent in killing words!
I love the Davis Cup. Seeing all that enthusiasm from the audiance and the players is amazing. But the timings really sucks. ITF organizes both events ( the GSs and the DC) and you think they should be able to come up with a better timing than less than a week after a major!

They asked Rafa about the changes players would like to make, like having a best of 3 instead of best of 5. So there are some thoughts….

margot Says:

zola: attagirl! Your version much better! re DC Yes, timing sucks.
jane:sounded as if I meant 3rd man, but of course “Citizen Kane.”

Kimberly Says:

clearly my point was not taken and in fact completely misinterpreted…

Serbia is quite nationalistic (i have realtives from Croatia so am quite aware of the sentiments there), Ivanovic, Jankovic and Djokovic are national heroes. Of course no one would hurt him.

Novak is as patriotic as they come. I meant the comment as a compliment to him (as it was made in the context of other top players electing not to play) if Novak had two hurt legs, he would show up to play Davis Cup in a wheelchair. He is as patriotic as they come. And I disagree about Americans and Davis cup. Several of our greats never played and if we were in the Final I believe 90% of the country wouldn’t even know it.

grendel Says:


I’m not sure what you mean about Fed and Swiss? In the context, perhaps you mean the Swiss lavished resources on Fed? Did they, b.t.w.? Excuse my ignorance. But if they did, it proves nothing. Someone with his talents would always have got resources from somewhere, and you really can’t say that Federer is a product of the Swiss tennis regime – any more than Andy Murray is of the British L.T.A.

Re Orson Welles, I recently saw an immensley long interview with him originally shown on B.B.C.’s Arena. If you’re going to talk about “tragedy”, I think Welles would point to the disgraceful mangling of The Magnificent Ambersons – which I believe Welles regarded as his best work, although he was keen on his Falstaff, too. The thing is, the second half of The Magnificent Ambersons has been entirely lost, and some fake Hollywood schmalz put in its place.

Leon – it’s all shadows and play. One does one’s best to convince oneself one is real….

Twocents Says:


If a man loves his mother-in-law the same way he loves his wife and kids, I’d call him a boy (who’s yet to man up on his own). Same thing for pro tennis players: who wouldn’t want to win everything, especially those who win most? But,you can’t have it all, unfortunately (for the greats) and fortunately (for others).

I’m glad the two Andy’s (R & M) stand up for their own career to say no finally to DC. While I hail Djok’s heroic effort in DC, I also hope he doesn’t allow the thing to derail his main focus.

Again, I love my mother-in-law. But she doesn’t take the spot in my heart where my wife and kids belong.

jane Says:

Is DC really about being a man (lol, Twocents ;)) or being selfish or on the other hand not selfish? Or is it just about seeking yet another type of victory? Andy Roddick was a DC stalwart for years; he devoted himself to it and was always reliable, and he won the cup; it was a great moment to watch and I know it was on his list of career goals. Granted, he had a pretty good team around him, but he was devoted as well. I think now that he’s won it, he’s moved on to let others have a chance. But I don’t think he’s suddenly decided to be selfish; you could see it as the opposite (for e.g., I saw Ryan Harrison in those USA DC pics – how fun for him!). Andy M was fighting such a losing battle maybe he just decided to swim instead of going down with the boat? But perhaps if he sensed victory were possible, he’d’ve stuck around? Because still – isn’t all about trying to get the Cup and win? Of course we don’t want to see players sacrifice themselves for DC (Andy M’s wrist injury last year for e.g.) but if they want to give it a real go, and their country has a decent team of players to assemble, why not go for it? It is one more big win that they will remember and enjoy. For those who choose not to go for it, well that’s fine too isn’t it? It is optional not required playing. Maybe it comes down to the individual player weighing it all up – pros, cons, you know – and just deciding one way or the other.

jane Says:

margot, fashion week in London, how fun – and yes, I can tie this to tennis: apparently Serena W will be walking the runway in one of the shows tomorrow! Now that’d be a sight. :)

Twocents Says:


Not sure about the selfish part. Does a DC trophy bring more glories than a Wimbledon win for any country? I’d say it’s another way around, giving the visibility of WO. As great a tennis player as Fed is, lacking DC trophy in Fed’s collection certainly hurts himself much more than his country (tennis is not among top sports in Switzerland). So, the Fed fan in me would never deny that missing DC and in some lesser extent Olympic Gold are blemishes for Fed. But I wouldn’t say Fed’s selfish not giving himself more shots at DC, cuz I’d never trade any slam for a DC.

Making tough independent choices is one very big thing distinguishing men from boys. In Fed’s case, I admire his persepective, maturity, and courage to say no and let it go, in exchange of other things.

That said, my apology for presenting it like playing DC or not separates men from boys. I’ve been saying all along that I love it to see Djok and Murray marturing up on the tour. This year they choose different routes on DC. I’m fine with both. DC could wear a top player out, a la Becker, or boost up a player, a la Verdasco. Since Djok has an ok team, let’s hope DC helps him in a positive way.

“Maybe it comes down to the individual player weighing it all up – pros, cons, you know – and just deciding one way or the other.”


jane Says:

Twocents “ut I wouldn’t say Fed’s selfish not giving himself more shots at DC”

I totally agree with you. My whole point is that it’s not really about being selfish or not selfish – it’s just a choice that the players make for varying reasons. For Fed, certainly at this point in his life, he’s up there with chocolate and mountains when we think of Switzerland. ; ) For Nole, maybe this is just a chance for him to get another notch on his belt, and indulge in his country pride. It’s all 6 and 1 half dozen — it’s different for all of them, and it’s up to them what they choose. I see no reason to belittle DC accomplishments, and no reason to chastise those who don’t play. Why not just enjoy the competition and be done with it?

P.S. No need to apologize, at all!! I loved your posts about mother-in-laws. Ha ha!!! I was just joking, hence the wink in my earlier post.

guy Says:

@ skeezer

federer and wawrinka are capable of beating the spanish, french or argies or any other ‘deep’ team on indoor courts. and the spanish don’t always get to play on clay. it doesn’t matter how deep your team is if nobody is injured because you can only play two at a time.


if you’re so smart break down my argument. the truth is you’re simply a fanboy moron and wouldn’t know where to start.
in any case, here’s the point i made. i’ll make it as simple as i can for you.
there is nothing wrong with bailing on davis cup for your singles career. but then you nolonger have the right to tell people you’re a great leader of men.
anyone who thinks otherwise is either in denial about their hero or fails to understand what great leadership actually is.

Twocents Says:

DC is a perfect stage for upcoming stars to gain valuable experiences and make their names (Fed stunned PMac by defeating USA single-handedly back in 99); for veterans to showcase their skills (M. Lldra); for passbys to contribute to the sports (Guy Forget). For tier 1 players, DC is a no brainer if the player has a strong team. It gets tricky when he doesn’t have a strong team. Murray has it worst: a tennis-loving country and a mimi team. So, he has to let it go, for now. How many bothers to remember Roddick’s DC commitment when they riddiculed his one slam win? None but his die-hard fans.

Stan’s big breakthru came in 2008, when Fed began to decline. It’s a pity or blessing in disguise?

Twocents Says:


You have a big heart. My wife is on her way to become a mother-in-lawx2. I better cut down on my jokes :-)).

Duro Says:

Prize question: Who’s gonna be a guy with a very, very short hair to win the AO 2011?

Twocents Says:

There was a long article by Barry Flatman on Sunday Times on the final weekend of WO10, where Fed mentioned that back in February he had a hard time catching up with the kids dashing across a open field up in Ethiopian, at >2000 meters in altitude. When I saw that article, I can’t help wondering if that’s how Fed got his lung infection? I’ve been to Tibet twice in the past two years. Whenever I landed in Lhasa (~3000 meter high), the locals would remind me again and again: don’t run. Our normal lungs do not handle the thin air up there. The fitter a person is, the worse his lung suffers from thin air – since strong lungs tends to try harder when the air is scarce and in the process overloads. And damaged lung takes a long long time to recover.

As Fed is approaching the rear end of his career, DC blemish bothers him more and more. He’d love to nail it down, of course. That’s why in 2009 after finishing USO final Monday evening in New York, he flew to Genoa dragging his two month old twins along to play DC on Friday, with some thigh and back issues. German media mentioned Fed’s team members stopped him from playing DC this time. I’m glad they did, cuz ever since he came back to tour in March, Fed’s been out of breath way too many times. Like in 2008, he’s playing catch up fitness wise. When one’s not as fit, one’s more prone to injury.

Fot Says:

This has been a fun discussion. I have enjoyed reading all the post. *thumbs up*

All I can say is that sure, I’ll pull for the Americans in Davis Cup BUT…and that’s a big BUT…if they play the Swiss and Roger is playing, I will ALWAYS pull for Roger to win. I just can’t stop myself from normally rooting for my favorite then trying to change to a ‘team’ during Davis Cup. I like Federer more than I like the ‘team of the USA” if they play. So that’s why I’m not really into Davis Cup that much. I like to follow my favorites and right now my all-time favorite happens to be Swiss.

If Roger never wins Davis Cup – then so be it. I have never thought of him any less that he doesn’t have a Davis Cup. Maybe Von can give her opinion on this but do you really think Roddick would not trade that one Davis Cup to have 16 grand slams? Or maybe even another grand slam?

Like someone else said earlier, many people remember that Roddick has 1 slam and only one but how many really know that he also has a Davis Cup? I just don’t think too much (especially maybe in America) is put on Davis Cup. I know when I ask my friends about Davis Cup, they don’t know what I’m talking about. But if I mention Wimbledon or any of the slams – at least they know it’s tennis! lol!

But anyway… Good luck to those nations currently still fighting for the cup, but I am looking forward to seeing Roger back on the court playing more so than watching Davis Cup.

Duro Says:

No interested?

Nina Says:

It’s amazing what fans expect from Fed. Too much, me thinks.

Congrats to Serbia from a Spanish fan. :)

sar Says:

Duro, how about Nole?

Duro Says:

Sar, since the question was coming from me, the answer was obvious. But what does it mean? That was the whole point of my prize question! The real question and answer was hidden behind that obvious answer! Any clues?

Polo Says:

It makes for a good resume, winning all the majors, an Olympic gold, a Davis Cup trophy. How many people have done that? Only Nadal among men. And Steffi Graf is his female equivalent (Fed Cup). That is one really exclusive club.

stu Says:

that Nole shaved his head?

Duro Says:

Yes, stu!!! But why and what does it mean? It means that Nole will win the Davis Cup, and the whole team is going to shave their heads (this is what they promised)on December the 5th! So, when the time comes to play Aussie Open, Nole will have a very, very short hair!

So, that’s the guy with a very, very short hair who’s gonna win AO 2011. But the whole point was – Nole will win the Davis Cup! Allez alleeeeez…

My prize was the tickets for the finals. Sar, your the lucky winner! See you in Belgrade. No excuses!

stu Says:

Whaaat?!! Why didn’t I win?

stu Says:

And yes, if Nole is in form and Tipsy pulls out a big win, they will win Davis cup…they will need to do it in the singles tho…or have Zimonjic and Novak/Janko/Viktor practice months in advance…

stu Says:

can tipsa be exempt from shaving his gorgeous locks?

Duro Says:

Stu, you didn’t answer who’s gonna be a guy with very, very… You just guessed why would that be so. But, there’s one ticket for you too… You deserved it for all the support you give to Nole always and everywhere. You’re welcome.

Tipsa will be bold, all right. First one to be shaved!

Duro Says:

I meant bald, of course.

Mike Says:

this site is becoming truely ridiculous with its nonsense towards Federer, who writes this stuff? Pete Bodo?

pull your heads out of Nadal’s ass, for once

no words about how he claimed a DC title last year when he only showed up in the Final – not a luxery Federer is afforded.

kimberly Says:

Actually mike nadal played the opening round v serbia in 09.

blah Says:

“It makes for a good resume, winning all the majors, an Olympic gold, a Davis Cup trophy. How many people have done that? Only Nadal among men. And Steffi Graf is his female equivalent (Fed Cup). That is one really exclusive club.”

You forgot steffi’s husband. still very exclusive though.

Kimberly Says:

Apparently Nadal is going to play Thailand, he already arrived. I had heard that Delpo was supposed to come back there too but then I heard not til October. What is the deal there?

I am quite surprised that Rafa is keeping a busy fall. He must be feeling healthy and good. Hope he can end the year with a bang!

Kimberly Says:

Estoy feliz de poder decirles: VUELVO A JUGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sera en el torneo de BANGKOK el lunes que viene. Muchas Gracias por todo !
– Juan Martin Del Potro at 8:24:56 am ET Sep 22nd

1 0 votes

I answered my own question…this means DELPO will play Bangkok and maybe Nadal!!!!

zola Says:

Rafa is already in Thailand and will have his first match on Thursday. Delpo and Verdasco will be there too.

zola Says:

of course I mean next Thursday!

grendel Says:

Kimberley – I wouldn’t expect too much from a Nadal/Delpo meeting. I recall Nadal coming back froma much shorter absence and being beaten straightaway by Joachim Johansson. This is build up time for delPo.

kimberly Says:

Grendel–u forget I am a rafa fan. I want rafa to beat his *ss!!!!

grendel Says:

no, no – I hadn’t forgotten, Kimberley. But the point is, even if Rafa does “beat his *ss”, the significance of this is strictly limited.

Mind you, the other way round….

margot Says:

jane: nice pic of Andy at men’s -emphasis here- fashion event! Ta. My, he does scrub up nicely these days ;)

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