The Davis Cup

Feb 25, 2009

The Davis Cup has an illustrious history in the tennis world; the first match was played in 1900 after some careful planning by a man called (and no surprises here): Davis. Dwight F. Davis. An appropriate name for  a young Harvard man interested in beating the British at their own game. Davis’ initial team did just that, and it’s been a bit of a precedent for the tournament as a whole. Up until the 1970s it had only ever been won by the USA, France, Britain or Australasia/Australia. Now, it is a much more diverse tournament, making it bigger and better each year from its first birthday 108 years ago.

There’s excitement brewing already. Who and who will not play in the David Cup is a year-round topic. How and who a country picks to represent itself is tantamount to what the tournament will be like any given year. 2008 was a victory for the Spanish, who won even without the one player many would expect to be the greatest help: Rafael Nadal. So which hand-picked team will make the title theirs this time?

Well, for starters, there’s the Spanish team. With Rafael Nadal so far uninjured and ready to play, he sits at the top of the list, with his compatriots David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, and Feliciano Lopez joining him. The Swiss team will be short of World No. 2 Roger Federer, although he should be out for only the first round due to a back injury. Russia have a terrifying trio of world class players who certainly give their team a fighting chance: Marat Safin, Dmitry Tursonov and Mikhail Youzhny. Novak Djokovic headlines for the Serbian team, probably hoping to bounce back from his early departure in the Australian Open. The French team have the formidable power of Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Gilles Simon. The Bryan brothers take two places on the USA team, alongside Andy Roddick and James Blake. Their coach has certainly had his share of his country’s expectation and limelight: John McEnroe.

And the British team? As usual they’re doing their own thing in their own, let’s say unique, way. Andy Murray will be playing, of course, but in typical X-Factor/Pop Idol/Britain’s Got Talent style, Britain has decided to stage a mini-tournament to decide. The prize: to become Murray’s teammates. I can’t help but find it a bit…odd. Surely the coach should know what he is looking for in a team mate? Surely they have to merit the position with a more rounded CV, rather than just a few pressure-induced performances. But maybe this is the new way to pick a tennis team. So long as they don’t start televising them with audience text-in elimination, I think it’ll be Ok.

The first rounds start 6th March, with the all groups holding some exciting draws. The gossip and intrigue has been churning away since the final of last year, so we can expect it to continue relentlessly. One of the many exciting things about the Davis Cup is this background of rumblings, remarks and rumours. Considering that the tennis also promises to the excellent, it looks like 2009 is set to continue its beginnings as a great year to follow tennis.



- SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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