Remember a few weeks ago when the United States Davis Cup tie was awarded to Austin, Andy Roddick's home town? Remember when the surface that was chosen was compared to an ice skating or hockey rink? Remember when Spain protested the surface as being illegal and the decision was made that it wasn't and that Spain could like it or lump it?
I wonder what went through the minds of the American tennis establishment when Spain, on the backs of David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez won both singles matches to take a 2-0 lead over the United States? Surely the thought was the US would regroup after winning the doubles and with what DC Captain Jim Courier said were better match-ups for the reverse singles to be played today.
Let's be clear. The surface was chosen to frustrate Rafael Nadal. In my opinion Rafa was never going to play here, win or lose at Wimbledon. In the end the choice of surface played right into the hands of Spain's very good hard court players. In the rush to make sure Rafa was humiliated the United States dug it's own grave and it will be Spain facing France in Spain in September.
The United States had best get it's head out of its ass and realize that there are men with Spanish surnames who can play hard court tennis. It is also time for the US to realize that it takes more than a big serve to defeat a good player these days.
What struck me most during today's rubber was the court knowledge of David Ferrer. He didn't come out there to try and out ball bash Mardy Fish. He came out to play tennis. And play it he did. His shot selection, use of the qualities of the court and his ability to think on court is what gave him the win. He didn't learn to play on a slab of concrete in Florida or California. He learned on the dirt of Spain. He learned HOW TO PLAY TENNIS on that dirt not how to play clay court tennis. Once you learn how to play you have a skill that once mastered and understood translates from surface to surface.
In the end it was Ted Robinson who said it best. Switzerland without Roger Federer is not in the World Group. Britain with or without Andy Murray is not in the World Group. Spain without Rafael Nadal is in the World Group. That speaks volumes about the depth of the Spanish Davis Cup team. If the United States had to resort to putting down a court that was barely legal to give itself a chance to win we're in worse shape than I thought we were.
As regular readers know I bleed red, white and blue for Davis Cup but this time I'm satisfied with my team losing. I just don't like resorting to trickery no matter who is on court or where the matches are being played. Someone called Spain's winning of the second set "outright thievery" or words to that effect. Pot, meet kettle.
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