(January 31, 2013) JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – The No. 1 tennis player representing the United States is ready to return to action this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida to lead the US against Brazil in the first round of Davis Cup World Group matches. John Isner coming back from a right knee injury which prevented him from competing in the Australia Open.
“We came into the week looking for clarity on John’s knee, hoping it would respond the way it has,” team captain Jim Courier explained at Thursday’s draw ceremony.
“He practiced hard every day. He’s had no setbacks.
“From our eyes and our medical staff’s eyes, we feel confident he’s ready and set for 10 sets of tennis if he needs to play them this weekend.”
“What Cap said, “ said Isner who first injured his knee when he was participating in Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia in the beginning of the year..” I had a very encouraging week of practice, which is what I was looking for. To be honest, I didn’t know how my knee was going to react when I really started to practice hard because it’s been a while.
“I certainly had to take some time off. Like I said, practice is going well. That was the main decision for us.
“My knee hasn’t been bothering me. I feel like I’m ready to go. These guys feel like I’m ready to go as well. That’s why the decision was made.”
Had Isner not been ready to go, Ryan Harrison would have been named to the team.
Tampa resident Isner who played for the University of Georgia is looking forward to the home tie, the first home tie for himself and Sam Querrey as members of the Davis Cup squad.
“I’ve always flown over an ocean to go play Davis Cup. This tie I just got in my car and drove three hours,” he said. “I do feel at home here. Hopefully I can get some USA chants, but Georgia chants also would be accepted on my part.”
“I think this is my seventh match,” Isner added. “Sam (Querrey) probably has played just about the same amount. We’ve always had the red stuff underneath our feet, so it’s been different to practice on hard courts during Davis Cup week.
“For basically our whole team, it was a pretty easy travel schedule to get here. It’s not something we’ve been accustomed to lately.
“For Sam and myself, this is going to be a great opportunity. We’ve never played one at home. We’re going to go out there and try to play our best.”
“It will be nice to have the fan support, the crowds behind us, instead of getting the boos every time you step onto the court, “ Querrey said. “It will be nice to get the home support.”
“It’s going to be real difficult for us here,” Brazil Davis Cup Captain Zwetsch.
“We knew this before come here already. After we came here and saw the arena, it’s really nice and big. Probably is going to be crowded.
“The court is also a little fast, as we expected. But also we are already prepared for that. We are also talking about this some time before to come here during the tournaments.
“We did a very good preparation to face the USA team. We know that they are really good, they’re really strong. They’re going to have a great support here with the crowd. But we also have a good experience to play in these conditions. We’re expecting to do well.
“We’re going to fight hard to get this tie to Brazil.”
World No. 13 Isner will meet Brazil’s Thiago Alves, ranked No. 145 in the second singles match of the day on Friday. The first match will feature No. 22 Sam Querrey against Brazil’s top player, No. 33 Thomaz Bellucci.
The doubles rubber will take place on Saturday as the world’s top team ranked team of Bob and Mike Bryan will face the Brazilian pair of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares. On Sunday reverse singles will take place.
Isner is 5-5 in Davis Cup singles play, while Querrey is 1-5.
The match marks the fifth meeting between the U.S. and Brazil in Davis Cup with the Americans leading the overall series 3-1. The countries last met in Davis Cup play in 1997 in a first-round match in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. Courier played singles for the U.S. team and won two matches to lead the American team to a 4-1 win.
This will be the first Davis Cup competition in an American city for either Isner or Querrey. Isner is 5-5 in Davis Cup singles play while Querrey is 1-5, with all matches held outside the U.S. on clay courts.
This match will mark the fifth meeting between the U.S. and Brazil in Davis Cup with the U.S. leading the overall series 3-1. The US defeated Brazil in the 1997 first round in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, when Courier and Jacksonville resident MaliVai Washington led the U.S. to a 4-1 win. Brazil is playing the World Group for the first time since 2003. It has not won a World Group first round tie since 2001, when they hosted Morocco.
Weekend Order of Play
Friday, 2 p.m.
Singles A: Sam Querrey (USA) v. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)
Singles B: John Isner (USA) v. Thiago Alves (BRA)
Saturday, 2 p.m.
Doubles: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) v. Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA)
Sunday, 12 p.m.
Singles C: John Isner (USA) v. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)
Singles D: Sam Querrey (USA) v. Thiago Alves (BRA)