U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier is leading his team of Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and Bob and Mike Bryan against Spain this week in Austin, Texas as they face Spain in a quarterfinal tie July 8-10 at the Frank Erwin Center. Also traveling with the team as practice partners are collegiate stars Steve Johnson, Evan King and Bradley Klahn, who are helping the team prepare for the competition.
Before and during the tie Courier will be writing an exclusive blog for USTA.com. In the second entry he discusses the first two days of play and the matchups for Sunday.
Saturday, July 9
Our guys quickly shrugged off the disappointment yesterday and by the time we got back to the hotel everyone was in good spirits again, ready for the rest of the weekend, and focused on what they needed to do.
Sure we would have liked to win those matches yesterday, yes they were close, and yes we had our chances but we bounced back and Bob and Mike put us in a good spot today with their victory over Verdasco and Granollers.
We were definitely expecting Granollers to play doubles instead of Lopez given the length of his match yesterday against Mardy, so that was no surprise there. We got the word early that Granollers was in so Bob and Mike were ready to play, ready for that particular team and they came out and did their job. It is a little bit of an easier matchup because Granollers, as good as he is, does not have the serve that Lopez has. We got a little relief there and he was really the guy we were able to get to when we got the breaks.
It is a little bit of a different matchup for Mardy tomorrow against Ferrer as opposed to Lopez yesterday. He will get a lot more looks because Lopez was just serving bombs and Mardy will get a few more chances on the first serves, because both of those guys have pretty good second serves. I think Mardy is going to get more of a chance to play his style of tennis tomorrow than Lopez allowed him to yesterday.
For Andy, there is a tradeoff between playing Lopez as opposed to Ferrer. Lopez has the much bigger weapon with his serve, it is a point ender if he is on fire, but once you get into a rally, Ferrer is much more of a threat in the baseline exchanges. Once you get the serve back in play against Lopez, you are a lot more comfortable, so it is a give and take between the two but Andy likes that matchup tomorrow and has a very good record against Feliciano.
Wednesday, July 6
We will not know the Spanish team’s full lineup until tomorrow’s official draw ceremony but we do know that Andy is going to face David Ferrer. He has been training this week for a right-handed opponent primarily so he has been hitting with Steve Johnson, the 2011 NCAA champion, who is our right handed practice partner and he has also practiced with Mardy.
Mardy has been practicing primarily with our two left-handed practice partners, Evan King and Bradley Klahn, because he will face either Feliciano Lopez or Fernando Verdasco on Friday, who are both lefties. We don’t really have an indication of who is going to play between the two but things we have heard in the past few weeks were that it was likely to be Lopez but we won’t know for sure until tomorrow.
With Mike and Bob, we have mixed it up in practice. They arrived later than the other guys because of their success at Wimbledon, which is a high-class problem to have. We needed to let them rest the first few days but now it is full-steam ahead. They clearly have a lot of confidence coming off their Wimbledon victory and they are comfortable in this indoor environment. It is an easy transition moving from grass to this surface because the bounce is steady and solid and they know what to expect.
We have been giving them a few different looks at their request, sometimes playing a righty and a lefty and sometimes two lefties. Granollers is a very good doubles player and it is quite possible he could play but Lopez and Verdasco also play a lot of doubles together. We won’t really know until after the singles matches on Friday who Bob and Mike’s opponents will be Saturday. If Lopez plays singles Friday and has a long match, then it is possible he would sit on Saturday and Granollers and Verdasco would play. But they have until an hour before match time on Saturday to adjust their lineup so we just have to prepare for every scenario.
It is amazing to have this kind of reception here in Austin and Andy deserves it. He has spent most of his life in Austin and he has been a champion of Davis Cup for the United States, in his results, and being a champion for the event in general. It is pretty heartwarming for him and for all of us to see the reception here and feel the energy from Austin. The energy at home is definitely different than being away. It was crazy in its own way in Santiago back in March and fun and challenging and this will be crazy, challenging and fun in a different way with our home audience giving wind to our sails, which will be nice.