Spain have won the Davis Cup for a fifth time, and the third time in four years, after Rafael Nadal recovered from dropping the opening set to defeat Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday's penultimate singles rubber in Sevilla.
1. Cup coup. Last week was Davis Cup week. And, as badly as the event is in need of a format/marketing upgrade, it succeeded in spite of itself. Exceptional tennis, exceptional drama, heroic efforts, and that beguiling overlap of individual and team. Spanning the globe ... we go to Chile, where the Americans made Jim Courier's debut a success and prevailed on clay. As long as Andy Roddick and the Bryans are on the skipper's line-up card, the Americans have a good chance. Riding a big win by Joachim Johansson (remember him?) the Swedes scored a big win against Russia. Kazakhstan upset the Czech Republic. I liiike! Depsite Ivo Karlovic's record 156 miles per hour. serve, Germany was able to beat Croatia. Last year's winner, Serbia -- which prevailed over France just a few days ago, it seems -- was sensibly given a first-round bye. No, wait! This just in: the Serbs beat India in Novi Sad. Check all the results at the consistently excellent DavisCup.com. If the only ITF's ability to
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.
How do you reconcile Roger Federer's brilliant strategic mind with his decision to -- yet again -- return from a brief tennis hiatus without a coach? Here's a future Hall-of-Famer, oozing with guts, game, and determination (the Aussie Open was no straight sets cruise by Rafa), and yet he foregoes a calming voice to settle any niggling nerves? I confess I'm having troubling distinguishing stubbornness from stupidity... -- Michael Selby, West Chester, Pa.
While I agree that Rafa Nadal's decision not to play in Shanghai might require some re-thinking about the year round schedule, don't you think it is also a reflection that the Davis Cup is very much alive outside the U.S., and that Rafa does not want to award Argentina any advantage. It seemed Rafa and Ferrer were going to have the tough time adapting from China to Argentina, now it is only the unlikely Del Potro. -- Marcos Clutterbuck, Buenos Aires, Argentina
I realize that some people will immediately denounce this column as gender bashing, but they would be wrong. My analysis that Davis Cup in America is thriving and Fed Cup is dying is merely an objective look at the discrepancies and inequities of the two.
True or False: Women's tennis is like men's tennis, only slower, with less variety and more errors. Seriously, give me a reason or two that a rational person would want to watch women's tennis that has nothing to do with sex appeal. -- Wafo Rodriguez, San Antonio
Jon: Novak Djokovic begins play when he starts to bounce the ball. Is your complaint the length between points or the number of bounces? Be honest. This just sounds like more anti-Djokovic rhetoric. I'd love to hear people talk about the good he brings to the game, but so far people can't get passed "what might have been" between The Mighty Fed and Rafael Nadal.
No, your TV isn't broken. Unless you're tuned into ESPN Classic, the tennis you see in front of you isn't a replay of the U.S. clinching the 2007 Davis Cup -- it's actually already the first match of the '08 Davis Cup.
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Few players on the ATP Tour ride the wave of momentum as well as James Blake. After dropping in the rankings from No. 4 in 2006 to 13th in '07, he's poised to climb back up the rankings with a strong performance at the Australian Open.
OK, I lied. Last week I said we were going to present the annual Baggie Awards. But because we got a welter of Davis Cup questions (and because I'm still recovering from a hellish redeye) we'll do a 'Bag this week and present the awards next week.
I'd like to take a second to pat myself on the back for my spot-on Davis Cup predictions. If you take a look at the column I wrote back in February, I stated this would be the year the United States would end its Davis Cup title drought. Now, with the final upon us, I feel like it's time to bask in the glory.
Justine Henin most certainly is not the "worst flouter" of coaching "rules"[Oct. 3 Mailbag].There are several (many) WTA players ranked in the top 20 who interact far, far more with their coaches during matches. Have you seen Nadia Petrova, Nicole Vaidisova or even Svetlana Kuznetsova matches lately? -- Adam, Wiltshire, England
In the past few months, I've written numerous blogs about playing Fed Cup -- what it's like to play for your country, the passion that goes along with playing and how different it is than anything else we experience on tour.
Rapid Fire Q and A's... Maria Sharapova: nursing shoulder or psyche? Fernando Gonzalez: Marcos Baghdatis of 2007? Williams sisters: glory days again? Rafael Nadal: too much to defend? Roger Federer: the year of the GOAT? Davis Cup: If the U.S. wins, will we finally care about it? -- Michael White, Fort Worth, Texas