Davis Cup QF Preview: Can Isner Fray The French Nerves? Will Spain, Serbia Prevail Without Nadal, Djokovic?
by Sean Randall | April 5th, 2012, 5:43 pm

A clay-themed Davis Cup quarterfinal weekend gets underway Friday however many of the big stars are absent. Because of the compacted Olympic calendar season schedule, top names like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have passed up the chance to represent their countries to better prepare for the French Open next month.

The four ties in the crosshairs are Austria at Spain, USA at France, Serbia at Czech Republic and Croatia at Argentina.

Even without Nadal, Spain, armed with Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer on their home soil, shouldn’t have too much trouble with Jurgen Melzer’s one-man Austrian crew.

Croatia is a formidable foe thanks to Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic, but travelling all the way to Argentina where Juan Martin Del Potro, Juan Monaco and David Nalbandian await smacks more of an ambush. Argentine should also advance.

Serbia isn’t just Djokovic anymore. Janko Tipsarevic is a Top 10er and Viktor Troicki is more than capable. The Czechs are also tough with Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek.

“My players were actually born on the clay courts,” said Obradovic, Serbia’s captain. “We’ve practised for four days and before that Janko and Viktor [Troicki] had two days on clay in Serbia so we’ve had the same court time as the Czech team.”

Berdych opens with Troicki tomorrow and that should set the tone. I also like the Czech doubles team as well. In the end of the what is an evenly matched tie, I think the home fans pull the Czechs through in tight affair.

Speaking of tight, that’s one thing the U.S. will have going for it when it travels to Monte Carlo to meet the French on the red clay. If Big John Isner and co. can keep it close and put the pressure of JW Tsonga and Gilles Simon, maybe they can escape with a win. But it’s a longshot.

With Mardy Fish unavailable, Ryan Harrison will make his Davis Cup debut in the opener tomorrow against Tsonga and despite his spunk I don’t think he’s going to get a live rubber win this weekend. That said, if Isner can get to tiebreakers, get the French nervy, he can certainly steal a win, but two against decent competition is asking a lot.

In his last two clay matches Isner nearly beat Nadal at the French Open and he did beat Roger Federer, so regardless of surface the giant is a force and he’s been playing well.

But France won’t make the same mistake with the clay the Swiss made with their uneven surface. And there’s a hint of rain that could further slow the courts down.

“The rule of thumb is pretty simple,” said US captain Jim Courer. “When it’s warmer and dry, the balls are going to bounce higher, they’ll go faster; when it’s damp and cooler, it will be slower.”

Added Harrison, “We’re very prepared. We have a great team, a great coach and captain. I think we’re as prepared as we can be. We’re all confident in ourselves and each other.”

The French also suffered a withdrawal when Gael Monfils couldn’t go. But replacement Simon is a much, much bigger step-up than Harrison.

The Bryans will get their Saturday win but France should win in four.

Tennis Channel has live coverage of the US tie starting at 6am ET Friday.

R1:Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Ryan Harrison (USA)
R2: Gilles Simon (FRA) v John Isner (USA)
R3: Julien Benneteau / Michael Llodra (FRA) v Bob Bryan / Mike Bryan (USA)
R4: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v John Isner (USA)
R5: Gilles Simon (FRA) v Ryan Harrison (USA)

R1: Tomas Berdych (CZE) v Victor Troicki (SRB)
R2: Radek Stepanek (CZE) v Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)
R3: Frantisek Cermak / Lukas Rosol (CZE) v Nenad Zimonjic / Ilija Bozoljac (SRB)
R4: Tomas Berdych (CZE) v Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)
R5: Radek Stepanek (CZE) v Victor Troicki (SRB)

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29 Comments for Davis Cup QF Preview: Can Isner Fray The French Nerves? Will Spain, Serbia Prevail Without Nadal, Djokovic?

Humble Rafa Says:

Your Humble Highness predicts “Little Brat” Harrison breaks a racket.

Mark Says:

C’mon Spain, Czech and USA!!!

Kimmi Says:

funny one if you have not seen it.


skeezerweezer Says:

^ funny indeed.

the_mind_reels Says:

Tsonga wins in four over Harrison. Nice to see Harrison taking a set off of a top 10 player in such a one-sided environment (and on clay, no less). Still, I don’t hold out much hope for the US this weekend.

skeezerweezer Says:


Have to say I am very tired of having to watch Rafa tug tug tug on the court………however someone sent me this….


…..and now I am at peace.

alison hodge Says:

skeezer at least men cant complain now about rafa doing it any more,as this now proves women do it too,good job that bar does not do a play a sport like tennis,or do a pysical job for that matter,g.strings are a brilliant invention lol.

skeezerweezer Says:


I thought he could have worn the old fashion mens jockstrap and his problems would have went away. Alas, I am glad bar doesn’t wear one…..wait…..

alison hodge Says:

skeezer lmfao just still trying to pick myself up of the floor,alas i am glad bar doesnt wear one ha ha ha.

Mila Says:

What’s up with Czech tennis players? First Berdich doesn’t shake hands with Almagro, and today ‘handsome man’ Stepanek, after losing +5 hours marathon match, instead shaking Tipsarevic’s hand, gives him a finger. WTF???

Could be coincidence, but these two guys in Czech DC team appear to be No.1 and No. 2 idiots in tennis today.

Tipsa had to be restrained after the match, he was going to kick Stepanek’s a$$.

Superhuman Says:

Stepanek is sore loser, that’s what it is, nothing to do with Czechs who are wonderful people! I am really curious how such an ugly guy gets all these beautiful women!

Wog boy Says:

You cannot expect anything else from Radek, i am glad they stoped Janko otherwise Radek would end up with few stitches on his frankfurter’s lips. I couldn’t see “one finger salute” moment, but I saw furios Janko wanting to fix up Radek.
Does ITF has any sanctions for this kind of Radek’s (mis)behaveing? I read on the other forum that umpire was unhappy with the Czech spectators but couldn’t do much about them.
Does anybody has link?
I hope this is going to fire up our boys.

Kimmi Says:

skeezer, did i think butt picking could be sexy? I guess it is all in ones imagination. Now that, is very sexy!!

Wog boy Says:

I guess Radek has a good pick up line :-)

steve-o Says:

Cilic beats Nalbandian for the first time in five meetings. I wouldn’t have expected him to do it on clay on the Argentineans’ home turf. As usual, he did it the hard way, by going down a set twice and then winning in the fifth.

Great win for him, he’s still getting back from an injury layoff. Hopefully he can return to his best form this year.

Wog boy Says:


She has really good overhead :)

I read on Serbian forum that she was Leonardo’s girlfriend and he left her, what an i@$@t, she is from Israel, and that is her fashion line.

Nice one Skeezer, you are obviously getting ready for next year SO:-)

sar Says:

Poor Tipsy. I hope Viktor beats his butt on Sunday.

skeezerweezer Says:


“butt picking could be sexy? ” Uhhhhh….NO! Just trying to help the Rafa Lady Lovers….hehe.

BUT…imho…..you’ll notice bar does not actually go into the “AREA”…but Rafa goes right for the major pick, digging deep, and what he is digging only he knows. Bar Eloquently tugs on the side… very sensual and sexy. A slip as it may….

Wog bog,

Overhead? No comment. this is a nice forum…;)

it looks hecka sexy when bar does it…whoa! Too each there own.

alison hodge Says:

wog boy its always escaped me as to how radek gets such beautiful women,like you say maybe he has a great chat up line,or maybe hes amazing in the sack,still would not go there though eew.

alison hodge Says:

skeezer ah but then again someone as beautiful as bar could make anything look sexy i suppose,and with all due respect she aint running around on a tennis court for 3,4 or sometimes 5 hours none stop,this is only a 3o second comercial,a competely different thing,great viewing though lol.

Mark Says:

@skeez. You might have missed this tweet from Bar “And YES! The little part in the beginning is a tribute for Rafa”.

kriket Says:

Štepanek giving the middlefinger to Tipsy after losing a match? Wtf. is that all about? He’s acting like an unruly teenage sore loser, and he’s like what.. 50 years old? I mean, what kind of an @55h0l3 do you have to be to behave like that. Between this and Berdych refusing to shake Almagro’s hand a few tournaments ago, I think Czech players are in big need of bon-ton lessons.

Dave Says:

Radek Stepanek’s secret is simple: he makes women laugh, makes them feel good, and pays attention.

alison hodge Says:

dave love the link ha ha,and i have to say your quite right too,over the years i have been out with some gorgeous men,who turned out to be real a.holes,who are only in love with themselves,to have a good SOH and be a decent person is way more important,and anyway whats attractive to one person aint necassarily the same for another,i know many women go mad for david beckham here in blighty,who is gorgeous but looses all sex appeal the minute he starts to speak imo,but judging by what radeks been doing i dont think he is a decent person though.

Dave Says:

alison, I thought you’d have a laugh! You’re right, what’s the point of dating a gorgeous person full of himself and who exploits others for his selfish needs. Life is too short to waste on a-holes and parasites. Fortunately, though most beautiful people tend to be self-obsessed and spoiled, occasionally there are gems who are also beautiful on the inside. A pretty face may attract for a few hours, but someone who *genuinely* wants and knows how to make you happy blesses your life. so Life is like a series of job interviews: the only way to find out what’s best is to keep trying.

I too can’t understand the attraction to the crafted image of Beckham (or Tiger Woods for that matter, even now). From Man U’s ex George Best to Brazil’s Kaka (links), surely there must more attractive footballers out there. But then, I’m not a woman. At least Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray all seem to have positive relationships with their women, despite their very different personalities.

Yes, few think much of Radek’s ‘decency’. But apparently Janko’s no rose either, though more polished and less idiotic.

alison hodge Says:

Dave thanks again for more great links,i have to say although i dont always agree with what you say,on the other hand it doesnt mean that i dont respect your posts though,your a very clever and knowledgeable man who does his research very well,and this one is bang on the money,and your right always did wonder what all the fuss was about with george best or kaka ,however i could be in a minority,although i do love Rogers mate thierry henry,whos an amazing footballer as well as been great looking too imo anyway,as regards janko and radek i think your right there too,and that they both can be as bad as each other.

skeezerweezer Says:

Isner takes down Tsonga and Simon to carry the USA into the semis against Spain. USA might have a shot at it this year.

Dave Says:

Alison, you’re welcome and thanks. You don’t have to agree with everything I say, after all, it’s just a tennis discussion so no hard feelings. Yes, Henry is an amazing footballer. As for George Best, he was a football genius and artist who, during his peak, was as talented as Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Pele, Zidane or Messi in football or as Federer, McEnroe or Nastase in tennis. Unfortunately, thru Manchester United, he won almost everything in European club football by age 22, then things went downhill thereafter. But even at age 35 and out of shape from years of drinking, he could still dazzle with his vision and control as this clip shows…

alison hodge Says:

thanks Dave for the link,as well as been a tennis holic footballs my other passion,that was probably the best goal i have ever seen ,i got dizzy watching his feet lol, can i just say as a rafa fan though,i know hes not to everyones taste,and i know he does say and do some things that get up peoples noses,but for us fair rafa fans please could you post some positive links on him from time to time(loved the cookie monster link,that you did a while back),and could i just say no hard feelings from me either,variety is the spice of life,and it would be a boring old world if we all agreed on everything.

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