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Davis Cup Notebook

Thoughts on Roddick, Blake, the Bryans and more

Posted: Saturday December 1, 2007 8:05PM; Updated: Saturday December 1, 2007 8:18PM
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Herewith, 25 observations after watching the United States win the Davis Cup for the first time since 1995 ...

• What this event lacked in drama, it made up for in atmosphere and excitement. The good folks of Portland put on a fine show and the American players responded, winning nine of the 10 sets that mattered.

• If you were Pat McEnroe, you could scarcely have scripted this better. Three routine matches and all four players contributing to the result.

Andy Roddick has now won a Slam, achieved the top ranking and spearheaded a winning Davis Cup effort. Given the cushy precedents we've discussed ad nauseum, anyone want to dispute that he sealed his Hall of Fame status today?

• For a guy accused of being a choker, James Blake sure played some unflustered tennis on Friday, outlasting Mikhail Youzhny, no slouch of an opponent.

• The match with the most electric atmosphere? The Saturday doubles clash. Sure, some of this was because it was the decisive match. But the crowd took to the shotmaking and net play and teamwork and theatrics. Be nice if the tennis promoters could figure a way to replicate this, rather than ghettoize doubles to the outer courts.

Nikolay Davydenko was the weak link in Saturday's doubles match. Hard to think of a player who's had it worse these last 90 or so days.

Shamil Tarpishev, the Russian captain, heads the Fed Cup team as well as the Davis Cup team. Given the divergent fates of the two U.S. teams, what's to prevent the USTA from doing the same with Pat McEnroe?

• Trivia: Which player had to travel the shortest distance from his training base to get to Davis Cup? Answer: Russia's Dmitry Tursunov, who calls suburban Sacramento home. What's more, Nikolay Davydenko is based in Germany and Igor Andreev does most of his training in Spain. I bring this up not to question anyone's nationality or patriotism. But in this era of a "global village" and the increasing irrelevance of borders, I wonder if international competitions aren't headed toward obsolescene.

• Unlimited challenges might be the equitable way to go, but it's lousy in practice. It disupts the rhythm and transform replay technology from "cool innovation" to "annoying tool."

Jimmy Arias has become an A-list commentator.

• Lots of nice touches by the game-ops folks. But here's a weird one: the American "reserves" throwing t-shirts into the stands during changeovers. A bit jarring to see Robby Ginepri, a U.S. Open semifinalist not that long ago, acting like a glorified mascot. At least they could have given him one of the cool air rifles.

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