Roddick to open play for U.S. Davis Cup Team against Chile

March 3, 2011 10:12 AM
Andy Roddick and Nicolas Massu will play the opening match.
John Isner and Paul Capdeville will play the second singles match.
Bob and Mike Bryan and Nicolas Massu and Jorge Aguilar will play the doubles match.
By Jason Brown,
SANTIAGO, Chile – The United States Davis Cup Team welcomed the return of team leader Andy Roddick and the start of a new captaincy under Jim Courier.
At the draw ceremony held at the Estadio Nacional, nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, Roddick was chosen to play in the series opener on Friday against Nicolas Massu, followed by teammate John Isner against Paul Capdeville.
"I think our guys realize that there’s a job to do irrespective of who’s playing when," said Courier. "It’s a simple concept – win three matches out of five."
Bob and Mike Bryan are matched up against Massu and Jorge Aguilar on Sunday. The series concludes on Sunday with reverse singles matches featuring Roddick vs. Capdeville and Isner vs. Massu.
Selected to favor the hosts, the outdoor clay surface is surprisingly to the Americans liking. They established a comfort level during practice, content with the relatively fast pace, hot but dry air and slight elevation.
"The conditions aren’t so bad," said Isner. "I think that all of us agree that the court is in very good shape, and the balls seem to be pretty fast."
Following a self-imposed year off from Davis Cup competition to ease the wear-and-tear of the professional season, Roddick will play in his first tie for the U.S. since the teams’ 2009 First Round series victory against Switzerland in Birmingham, Ala.
"It was definitely an odd feeling when I saw these guys playing in Serbia and not being there," said Roddick, whose team lost in Belgrade to a Novak Djokovic-led team that would eventually hoist the 2010 Davis Cup.
"I didn’t feel healthy enough to commit to a full year," he added. "I missed these guys and the spirit of competition of it also. That was a big reason why I came back, and obviously, the opportunity to play for Jim was a big factor as well."
Courier succeeds Patrick McEnroe, whose 10-year tenure as captain was highlighted by leading the U.S. to the Davis Cup title in 2007.
"When Patrick stepped down, I think we were all excited to see Jim step in," said Mike Bryan. "He’s one of the boys. He’s a really smart coach, and he has passion for Davis Cup. We’re coming together as a team. It’s fun playing for a guy that you idolized when you grew up."
As a player, Courier won Davis Cup titles in 1992 and 1995. He is a former world No. 1 singles player, two-time French Open and Australian Open champion, and a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
"To be a part of what this team does is important to me," said Courier. "For those of us that are lucky enough to play this game for a living, there are really just a couple of things that matter, the majors and competitions like Davis Cup."
Bob and Mike Bryan, the top-ranked doubles team in the world, are the all-time winning duo in U.S. team history, including their historic final-clinching win in the 2007 final.
The U.S. holds an unbeaten Davis Cup record of 4-0 against Chile, including the most recent encounter during the 2006 quarterfinals, when the Americans defeated Chile, 3-2 in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
With perennial top-10 talent Fernando Gonzalez rehabbing from hip surgery, the underdog Chileans are captained by Hans Gildemeister and feature a four-man unit consisting of Capdeville, Aguilar, Massu and Guillermo Rivera-Aranguiz.
Following a loss to Serbia in the first round last year, the U.S. retained its spot in the prestigious World Group with an important 3-1 victory on foreign soil in the 2010 World Group Playoffs against Colombia.
Mardy Fish, who withdrew his name from consideration to play Chile because of a thyroid condition, accounted for all three points, including a five-set thriller over Santiago Giraldo in the clinching match.
The winner between the U.S. and Chile advances to the quarterfinals to face either Belgium or Spain, July 8-10. If the U.S. defeats Chile, it is guaranteed to host the quarterfinal tie at a site to be determined.
Draw Results:
R1: Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Nicolas Massu (CHI)
[LIVE on Tennis Channel at 9am ET]
R2: John Isner (USA) vs. Paul Capdeville (CHI)
[LIVE on Tennis Channel at 12pm ET]
R3: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) vs. Jorge Aguilar/Nicolas Massu (CHI)
[LIVE on Tennis Channel at 10am ET]
R4: Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Paul Capdeville (CHI)
[LIVE on Tennis Channel at 9am ET]
R5: John Isner (USA) vs. Nicolas Massu (CHI)
[LIVE on Tennis Channel at 12pm ET]