Best of Three: Serbia shows merits of Davis Cup outweigh flaws
Serbia's Davis Cup win showcased everything that's right about the competition
No sporting event lends itself to more 'postmortem' discussion, second guessing
Martina Navratilova is hitting tennis balls from the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro for charity
1. Loving Cup: For as much space, pixels and air time is devoted to "fixing" the Davis Cup, last weekend we got a taste of all that's right about the event. Before 16,000 raucous fans in Belgrade, Serbia won the country's first championship, beating France, 3-2. Viktor Troicki played hero, taking down Michael Llodra in the winner-take-all match on Sunday evening. But the MVP was Novak Djokovic, who played near-flawless tennis under near-unfathomable pressure. If you happened to catch the Serbian celebration (including Janko Tipsarevic's alcohol-fueled tweets late into the night), read of the significance -- "the greatest moment in the country's history" according to more than a few accounts -- or see the French agony, you don't doubt the relevance of the competition.
2. Second guesses: More than most events, the overlay of individual/team/nation leaves Davis Cup results ripe for "postmortem" discussions and second guessing. If Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is healthier, does a different country win the chalice? Should Gilles Simon have gotten the call for France? For that matter, why, with flashy Richard Gasquet available, would French captain Guy Forget have gone with a Michael Llodra, who's north of 30 and played five sets of doubles the previous day? Was Forget outflanked, calling Llodra's number with expectation that Tipsarevic was going to be the opponent? When a captain calls line judges "unpatriotic" for making adverse calls -- as Serbia's Bogdan Obradovic did after the Saturday -- does it undercut the dignity of the event? Were the more vocal and partisan Serbian fans -- "Idiots," says Forget -- out of line, or should there be some measure of cultural relativism? No right answers, but the intrigue and subplots certainly add to the tennis.
3. Climb Ev'ry Mountain: While Tennis Nation now either poolside, beachside, or making some bonus money playing exhibitions, Martina Navratilova has found a unique way to spend some downtime. Later this week she plans to hit tennis balls off the top of Africa's highest peak, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro next week to raise money and awareness for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The goal is 100,000 euros. For more information go to theLaureus Sport for Good Foundation.
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