Five Thoughts From This Year’s Davis Cup Encounters

If only they played like that at the slams

Granted, the U.S Davis Cup opponents happened to be Brazil, but the latter nation is not without talent in the sport and they proved so, erasing a 0 – 2 deficit before succumbing 3 – 2 in the fifth rubber.  One wonders what it is about the Davis Cup atmosphere that makes the U.S men rise to the occasion.  Maybe it’s because this is a country that gravitates towards team sports more so than it does towards individual heroics.  There’s also the added pride in representing one’s country, that can give otherwise lackadaisical players the added edge they generally lack.  A certain David Nalbandian comes to mind.  Whatever the case may be, the Davis cup has always been a great source of experience and momentum for players in the past.  Now if only John Isner and his cohorts can approach the majors like it’s the Davis Cup…

Who says Gollum’s got no heart?

Tomas Berdych will never be popular for his mental strength or fighting spirit and that’s okay too.  There’s a very good chance he doesn’t bother himself with how he’s perceived in the public eye. Judging by the win he and Lukas Rosol – anyone remember him? – pulled off in an epic 7 hour doubles contest, there is no doubt that there is a competitive fire burning beneath that grim and sullen exoskeleton of his.  As if that doubles match wasn’t impressive enough, Tomas backed it up by closing under pressure, against a very good Stan Wawrinka in the decider.

Still the man…

If you are Stan the man Wawrinka, right now you might be still trying to figure out how to quantify and to a greater extent, qualify the losses you’ve been dealt this year.  Two in the first two months.  At this rate… Stan hopefully is a glass half-full kinda guy.  The losses have been close.  Painfully so.  However, they have been close.  There was a time this could not be said for the Swiss no.2 when he got onto the court to play a potentially big and career changing match.  Hopefully he can see this as a step in the right direction and go one further next time around.

Canada… Home and… Dry

Milos Raonic led his charges against one of the world’s top Davis Cup superpowers.  On paper, the odds were against Canada.  However, Spain was severely depleted, with it’s top competitors such as Nadal, Ferrer and Almagro out for various reasons.  Despite this, Raonic and co still had to win this one.  The big serving Canadian has been known for losing matches he should win in the past, and when Ramos took the first set there was a fear that history might repeat itself.  Alas, Raonic turned out to be the hero as he won his two singles matches, leading Canada into the quarter-finals.  Great effort by him, tough loss for Spain and somewhere on planet earth, Novak Djokovic and his fellow Serbian teammates must be smiling.

Why stop at 7?  Let’s go for 8 next time…

Any one else notice that these matches keep getting longer and longer?  A lot has been said about the direction in which modern day tennis is going, but the length of matches is threatening to become the mantra of this generation of players.  Granted, a lot of it is pulsating stuff, but no matter how riveting a match is, it’s pretty tough keeping one’s attention for the nether side of four hours, talk less of seven.  I think it’s time the issue of no breaker fifth sets is revisited.  If that particular aspect of the game was valid in the past, it isn’t now for a lot of reasons such as the speed of the court, racquet technology, the improved fitness and physicality of the game to name a few factors. 

It’s the slow part of the early season before things ramp up again with the indoor tournaments leading up to the first Masters of the year.  While enjoying the downtime, I hope the Davis Cup has giving everyone else a few interesting thoughts as well.  Feel free to share.  Adios for now.

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