November 29, 2015

“Uncle Sam” Saves U.S. – Querrey helps Americans squeak past Brazil and into the Quarterfinals


Sam Querrey backhand2


Querrey helps Americans squeak past Brazil and into the Quarterfinals


By Junior Williams


(February 3, 2013) JACKSONVILLE – The U.S. Davis Cup team avoided a huge upset when Sam Querrey clinched the First Round tie for the Americans over Brazil, 3-2, in a fifth and decisive rubber on Sunday at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The U.S. now moves on to the Quarterfinals and will host Serbia and world number one Novak Djokovic in Boise, Idaho.


Querrey, ranked number 20 in the world, defeated 141-ranked Thiago Alves, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3), becoming the first American to clinch a Davis Cup tie in a fifth and decisive rubber since 2000, when Pete Sampras defeated Slava Dosedel to defeat the Czech Republic in a World Group Quarterfinal in Los Angeles. Querrey’s second live Davis Cup singles victory came two days after he defeated Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in straight sets.

Querrey stepped up for the U.S. after John Isner, ranked number 16 in the world, fell to the No. 36-ranked Bellucci, 2-6, 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-3, in Sunday’s first reverse singles match. That evened the tie at 2-2, before Querrey served up 26 aces to defeat Alves.


It looked as if an upset was in the making when Alves took the first set, but Querrey soon found his groove. He began to win the long rallies against Alves, and take a two sets to one lead.


In the fourth set, Querrey was serving for the tie at 5-4, but he failed to convert a tie point and got broken after his overhead smash went into the net, giving Alves new life and the Brazilian fans hope. Both players battled into a fourth set tiebreak, in which Alves sent a shot past the baseline to give the U.S. a 5-3 lead Querrey would not relinquish. His victory gave joy and relief to the few hometown fans who hadn’t left the match to watch the Super Bowl.


“You know, I was just very happy with the way I battled through it,” said Querrey. “Didn’t strike the ball as well as on Friday, but fought through the tough points, made him play, got breaks in the second, third and fourth sets there.


“He broke me back, but then edged him out in a tiebreaker. I was just happy to get through it.”
U.S. Captain Jim Courier said Querrey will benefit from experiencing the Davis Cup pressure cooker. “Sometimes obstacles become opportunities, and that’s what this was today for Sam. John, we thought he was going to get through his match. We thought Bob and Mike (Bryan) were going to get through their match (on Saturday). It came down to Sam, and he stepped up when we needed him to. Sam faced some adversity at the end and played a great tiebreaker to get past not closing it out on serve. Those are learning moments for a player, things you can draw on later on in your career.”


“It was a good effort from everybody, particularly the Brazilians,” said Courier. “They deserve a lot of credit for pushing us and making us come up with what we had to at the end.”


The Brazilian Alves said he was pleased with his level of play during the tie. “So was a great match. Sam is a great player. The first set I got my chance, so I think he was a little bit tense, nervous. After that he start to

play better tennis. I fight for all the match, all the match.”


Brazil’s Captian Joao Zwetsch congratulated the U.S. team on its victory, but also gave praise to his players for almost coming back from down 0-2 in matches to pull off the shocker.


“Everybody did all the best all the week trying to win this tie” said Zwetsch. “Everybody was like this. When I get on the court, I can feel this energy. I was feeling today. It’s different. I can say to you it’s really different.”
Top-ranked Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci did his part to push the Americans to the brink with his five-set victory over Isner. It was Bellucci’s spin and kick serves versus Isner’s power service game, which included 22 aces.

But the American also committed 81 unforced errors in the nearly three-and-a-half hour match, and appeared to run out of gas in the fifth set — with this being only his second match since skipping the Australian open with a knee injury.
“In the end, I saw that Isner was a little bit tired and I was trying to put every ball inside the court to keep him playing,” said Bellucci.
“I just couldn’t quite win the big points,” said Isner. “It’s almost like I wanted it too badly. I just felt like I was forcing it, wasn’t going for my shots like I should. Confidence-wise I’m not even close to where I want to be.”


Isner also complained about the Brazilian fans, who came ready to root for their favorites with taunts and a number of noisemakers in tow: party horns, kazoos and rubber ducks. “To be honest I don’t appreciate their fans at all. I don’t think they’re too classy at all.” Isner went on to say that the fans are not an excuse for his defeat and that Bellucci deserved to win.
U.S. Captain Courier is now setting his sights on Serbia in the Davis Cup Quarterfinals: “We’re excited. We wanted to face Serbia. We thought that would be a great test for us. They’re one of the great Davis Cup nations right now. Novak is playing again this year after taking last year off. If you want to lift this trophy, you need to beat the best teams, and that certainly is one of them.

“We look forward to the challenge. We know it will be difficult. But Boise should be a very hospitable environment for us. We’ll like the altitude there. That should work well for us. We’ll look forward to playing there.”


Brazil Stays Alive As Melo and Soares Upset the Bryans in 5 Sets


Bob and Mike Bryan

Bob and Mike Bryan


Melo and Soares upset the Bryans in 5 sets; U.S. up 2-1
By Junior Williams


(February 2, 2013) JACKSONVILLE — On Groundhog Day here in the United States, the conventional wisdom was that the world’s top-doubles team would clinch a first round Davis Cup World Group victory and ensure a long winter for Brazil’s team.


But as any Brazilian will tell you — it’s actually summer south of the Equator, and it’s not over yet.


Serveral hours after the American weather groundhog Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow and predicted an early spring, Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares kept Brazil’s Davis Cup hopes alive by stunning Americans Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6(6), 6-7(7), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, in what was a high-quality and intense match. The U.S. now leads the tie 2-1.


For the Bryans — who are coming off their 13th major doubles title by winning the Australian Open — Saturday’s defeat marks only their third loss in 23 career Davis Cup matches.


In the first set tiebreak, Brazil rebounded from a 5-1 deficit and saved three set points on the way to winning the set, shocking the hometown faithful at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum.


“It was very important for us ’cause we kept the pressure on them,” said Soares. “You never know, it’s tough to say, but I think if they had won the first set, they would come back really strong, and then it’s really tough to hold them back.”


The Bryans returned the favor in the second set tiebreak by saving four set points — including one as part of a challenge resulting in deadlock at 6-6 — to even the match at a set apiece. It was during the changeover at 6-6 during the tiebreak that Bob Bryan had some words with the Brazilian bench, ratcheting up the intensity level of the match.



“I felt strange Bob’s reaction” said Melo.  “Just running, too close from me, screaming on my ear. I don’t know what’s happened like that, you know. Bob never did this before. We have really good relationship. I have him as a friend. In that moment I got in shock, How Bob did this, is not normal.”


Here’s Bob Bryan’s take on the situation: “Yeah, Davis Cup is an emotional atmosphere. They got passionate after they thought they won the set. I got passionate to them. There were some words said. You know, no hard feelings, no grudges.


It’s Davis Cup. This sort of stuff happens all the time. It didn’t affect the outcome of the match at all. There’s no hard feelings.”

The Brazilians went on to take the third set, and the Americans battled back to win the fourth, putting the Bryans in uncharted territory: Their first ever five-setter in Davis Cup. The turning point in the fifth set was when Mike Bryan double faulted to give Brazil the break and a 5-3 lead. Brazil held serve in the following game to secure the victory, to the delight of fans wearing the green, gold and blue.

“We came here today to fight,” said Soares. “We know we play well together. We never give up. So I think today was just a perfect example how good me and Marcelo can play together.”


Soares said part of Brazil’s game plan was to take away Mike Bryan’s return of serve down the middle. “Mike is one of the best returners in the game. We know we have to mix it up, take chances, serve in a spot that you don’t really feel comfortable, but you got to do it. He can hit any return anywhere. So I think what we tried to do a lot is to play the ‘I’ position and mix it up a lot.”


Soares called the win against the American his best ever in doubles competition.

“Beat Bryans on a Davis Cup World Group in their home. Tough to beat that. Maybe later on our career we hope to have some good wins as good as this one. But this one for me, it’s very special. It’s number one, for sure.”


“Hats off to the Brazilians, said Bob Bryan. I thought they served well pretty much of the four hours. A lot of high-percentage first serves. They were half-volleying well, keeping the pressure on for a long time. We didn’t get it done, and that’s our fault. We came here from Australia and gave it our best effort to get in shape and win this match, and we came up short.

“All the credit to those guys. They’ve beaten us before. They’re a good team. They’re in the mix in the big tournaments around the world. They knock on the door. They beat some other big teams as well. I’m sure we’re going to see them again for many years.”
In response to a follow-up question about the Bryans having any jet-lag or letdown after traveling from Australia, Mike Bryan said the twins felt great and were not mentally fatigued. “I don’t think we executed our best. We could have played a better match. Could have probably played a little more aggressive. But it wasn’t a factor of just winning a Grand Slam and traveling so far.”

The Americans are hoping John Isner will seal the tie when he takes on Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in Sunday’s first singles match. A Bellucci victory would force a fifth and deciding match between Sam Querrey of the U.S. and Thiago Alves of Brazil. Querrey is ranked number 20 in the world, while Alves is ranked number 141.


U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier says he Isner and Querrey are “well-prepared. They come in with three sets under their belt from yesterday which is good for their

confidence, not damaging to their physical fitness. We feel confident in our chances (Sunday). We don’t underestimate the opposition. They gained a little bit of momentum. It will be our job to quell that tomorrow and snuff it out first ball.”
Courier’s counterpart, Brazilian Davis Cup Captain Joao Zwetsch, said his team is going to “come strong” on Sunday and use the doubles victory as added motivation. “We still respecting a lot the American team, like I said all the time this week,” said Zwetsch. “But I guess we are like stronger mentally now to come (Sunday) and fight as we fight (Saturday).”


Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Jacksonville, Florida covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Brazil for Tennis Panorama News.





Davis Cup: High “I. Q.” For USA




Isner, Querrey give Americans 2-0 lead over Brazil


By Junior Williams


(February 1, 2013) JACKSONVILLE – Straight sets victories by John Isner and Sam Querrey have given the United States a commanding 2-0 lead over Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup World Group at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.


Isner — who skipped the Australian open due to a knee injury — showed signs of rust in his 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Thiago Alves, who’s ranked 141 in the world. The American committed 62 unforced errors in the nearly two-hour match, partly due to some spirited play from Alves, who at times surprised Isner with his return of serve and ability to win long rallies.


But in the end Isner was bailed out by his powerful serve. In the second set, Isner staved off two set points by firing aces and going on to hold at 5-5. He later overcame a mini-break in the second set tiebreak, and closed out the set with a pair of aces — he had 32 in all.


Isner — the top ranked American and number 16 in the world — took control of the third set by breaking Alves to go up 4-2, on the Brazilian’s unforced error past the baseline.


When asked whether the four-week layoff bothered him, Isner replied, “It wasn’t exactly pretty, but I knew that may be the case going into this match today because I’m real short on match practice, real short on practice in general. But these are the type of matches for me going forward that I need to get under my belt. But all in all I’m very happy with the outcome and glad I was able to contribute today.”


In the first match, Sam Querrey defeated Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The American — whose world ranking is 20 — served 15 aces and won 96 percent of his first serve points. Early in the match, Querrey had trouble returning the Belucci’s kick serves, but the Brazilian double faulted midway through the first set to send Querrey up a break. Querrey capitalized by clinching the set as Bellucci returned his serve into the net.


“I feel like I played great,” said Querrey.  I was serving well, and that just makes things so much easier. I could play a little freer on his service games.I was a little nervous at the beginning.Once I got that first break, I felt like I got my feet settled and I was on a roll.


After that, it was all Querrey, who broke Bellucci in the first game in each of the remaining sets en route to his first Davis Cup singles victory



The number 36-ranked Bellucci said “It was not easy to play today. The court was very fast. (Querrey)  was serving very strong, very close from the lines. I didn’t play my best tennis, so I’m a little bit disappointing.



The turnout for today’s matches was low, but Querrey still gave the home crowd a thumbs up.


“Everyone that was there did a great job. They got surprisingly loud there at the end for an arena that wasn’t full.You know, it’s still good for who was there.Hopefully tomorrow we can get more. I know sometimes it’s a little tougher on Friday with people working. Hopefully tomorrow and Sunday we can get more.”


Saturday, the United States will look to clinch the tie by going with Bob and Mike Bryan, who are fresh from winning the Australian Open men’s doubles championship — a record-setting 13th major title. The twins will take on top 20 doubles players Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.”


A U.S. victory would send the Americans to the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals, where they would likely host Serbia. World number one Novak Djokovic and teammate Viktor Troicki won their matches against Belgium to take a 2-0 lead.


Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Jacksonville, Florida covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Brazil for Tennis Panorama News.


Davis Cup in Monte Carlo, Day 3: Isner – The New Closer

By Guillaume Willecoq

“Before, it was Andy Roddick the biggest closer of the US team, maybe I can do as well.” For the first time, John Isner clinched a Davis Cup for the US team, after an amazing match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. “I was pissed off to have to admire the way he was playing” said Guy Forget, fair play. The US boy from Greensboro, NC ended Guy Forget’s run as French Captain.  Forget led the French Davis Cup team since 1999. The new captain won’t be named before September. For the US team, they will face Spain again in semifinals, as in 2008, “I assume on clay, laughs Isner, but we will be ready to go!”

4th rubber : John Isner d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 in 3h20

First serve: 66% / 71%

Aces: 16 / 5

Double faults: 4 / 4

Winners: 56 / 43

Forced and unforced errors: 86 / 88

Break points: 2/9 / 1/7

Net points won: 37 / 29

The French team at their news conference :

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: “John has played a huge match. I wasn’t in a great day. John was better than I was. He played better the important points, and played more aggressively… It’s not a surprise he can perform at this level. But I was surprised he could keep this level through the whole tie.”

“Guy was the only captain I knew, and every time he made me like this competition, and tennis even more. He shared his love of the game. It’s the most beautiful thing to me.”

Guy Forget: “The deception is a little easier to accept since it comes from the hands of Jim Courier, a really good guy. Jim was a role model, and his players are just like him. This US team and mine have many values in common.”

“Tonight I have mixed emotions. It’s the end of 14 years as a captain, but my story with story with Davis Cup is longer than that: it started in the USSR in 1983 or 1984. It’s weird it’s over.”

The US team at their new conference :

John Isner: “I believe in myself : if I can play like I play this week I can beat a lot of people in the next Roland-Garros. Beating Gilles and beating Jo are two very good wins, I played very well, if I can keep this level up I’m gonna be tough to beat.”

“Jim definitely helped me in that first tie in Switzerland. I had a very good win against Roger and he helped this week. It’s been a gradual thing for me, my coach back home put the majority of my working, but when I came here, Jim kinds of make me ready. Captain Courier is a guy that I’m very comfortable on the bench, so that helps.”

Jim Courier: “The quality of today’s match was exceptional, I thought better even than on Friday. John is definitely continuing to improve even from the last tie. I think he played better this one. It is impressive.”

“Against Spain, we probably lose it on paper but they don’t play them on paper. We have to play it out there and we have players who are capable and passionate and hungry. We are definitely going to be the underdog once again but we will be ready to play.”

-          The special guests section:

Spotted today at the Monte Carlo Country Club: Novak Djokovic, the World N°1, and his girlfriend curiously at home in Monaco and not in Belgrade to support his teammates against Czech Republic; Ricardo Piatti and Ivan Ljubicic, for the last tournament of Ljubi’s career, next week in Monte Carlo; Eric Winogradsky, former Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s coach ; Alain Boghossian, former soccer player, World champion in 1998 with the French squad; the little group of the Net Heads, trying to make as much noise as the French crowd; and a bonus, Alexandre Vinokourov, the cyclist champion, training with three Astana’s teammates on the roads of Monaco.

End of the week in Monaco for Guillaume and MarieJ. It’s been a pleasure to share with you the coverage of this France / USA tie, in one of the most beautiful places for tennis. We are French, but we were really drawn in by this US team. See you next time and good luck in Spain!

Guillaume Willecoq was at the Monte Carlo Country Club covering the US versus France quarterfinal Davis Cup tie as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Guillaume Willecoq also manages and contributes to the French language tennis website, follow them on twitter on @15lovetennis.


Friendly Fribourg – The Swiss City Did Itself Proud As a Davis Cup Host

By Junior Williams

FRIBOURG, Switzerland — When I heard that the United States had drawn an away tie against Switzerland for the first round of Davis Cup World Group 2012, I assumed it would end up in a large city such as Geneva or Zurich. Then the word came down: Fribourg.


The announcement expanded my education about Switzerland. I had never heard of Fribourg, but learned that it’s halfway between Geneva and Zurich, has centuries of history and is in a region famous for fondue and Gruyere cheese.

I arrived in Fribourg Wednesday after a 90-minute train ride from Zurich Airport. At the train station: Buses everywhere, snow flurries and below-freezing temperatures. But I immediately warmed up to the Swiss people who were happy to answer my questions even though they noticed I was butchering my attempts to speak French. We’d converse in English and they didn’t give me that “Ugh – typical American” look.

After checking in at the hotel, I went back out and walked around the Fribourg Centre mall, right across the street from the train station, to get one of life’s necessities for a foreigner in Switzerland — a universal adapter for circular three-prong outlets — necessary so I could write this column. The shocker for me was that the mall closes at 7pm during weekdays, much earlier than back home in the U.S.

Thursday was my big sightseeing day, so I hopped on the city bus, which costs 2.90 CHF ($3.17 US) and you have to buy a ticket from the machine at the bus stop before boarding. But each time I took a ride, the driver never asked for the ticket. One Fribourg native explained to me that there was an honor system where passengers were expected to do the right thing and pay. He said that “on occasion, someone might follow up” to make sure the fare was paid. This system wouldn’t work back home in New York City.

Walking around the Place de Tilleul — near the Town Hall — I made my way to the Cathedrale St-Nicolas, which was completed in the 15th century after two centuries of construction. There was something peaceful about being alone inside the cathedral, with gorgeous stained glass windows and huge organ pipes near the ceiling.

I continued my trek through the narrow streets and walked up the Route de Alpes, where you get stunning postcard views of centuries-old villages below, with snow-covered buildings and parks. Minutes later, I was back into modern times, near the train station.

That night, I had to get my fondue fix, and the folks at Cafe du Midi did not disappoint. I savored a nice big pot of “moitie-moitie” — a mixture of Gruyere and Vacherin cheeses — with boiled potatoes instead of bread for dipping. The meal was pricey as many things are in Switzerland, but it was worth the cost.

Yes, there are cheap eats in town. For lunch I enjoyed the Xpresso Cafe in the Fribourg Centre, home of tasty crepes (ham and cheese for 7.50 CHF did the trick).

The buses were packed for the trip to the arena Friday. To my surprise, there were tickets still available for the Davis Cup tie. Two men told me they were on line at 6pm and successfully snagged tickets three hours later, after standing outside in sub-zero Celsius temperatures. It’s a sign of how the Swiss love their team. Fans showed up wearing afros, the signature Swiss cowbells, and just about anything red-and-white.

Chants of “Hop Suisse” and “Allez” filled the arena for three days, especially when it came to rooting for their hero Roger Federer. But it ended up being a rough weekend for the home team — no wins. Nonetheless, the Swiss fans were gracious in congratulating their American counterparts, even taking pictures together in the true spirit of Davis Cup. The workers at the venue were also very courteous and friendly.

Of course, there’s a lot more to see in Fribourg, and hopefully one day I’ll get the chance on a return visit to Switzerland. Even though the country’s Davis Cup team lost, the class and friendship shown by the Swiss people make them big winners in my book.

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He was in Fribourg, Switzerland covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the US and Switzerland for Tennis Panorama News.

U.S. Completes Davis Cup Sweep of Switzerland

Bryan, Fish win doubles over Switzerland’s Federer, Wawrinka to Send USA to Davis Cup Quarterfinals

Davis Cup Stunner in Switzerland – Isner upsets Federer, Fish outlasts Wawrinka to put U.S. up 2-0

Nethead Photo Album from US-Switzerland Davis Cup Tie

[nggallery id=45]


US Davis Cup Legacy Courts Opened in Austin

AUSTIN, Texas (October 22, 2011) – Part of a US Davis Cup tradition, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) grants the host city of a recent Davis Cup tie with a legacy project for the community to remember the event.


On Saturday, the USTA and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) hosted an official grand opening to uncover the eight permanent and four blended lined 10 and Under tennis courts.

The 2011 U.S. Davis Cup Legacy project which was completed at an estimated cost of over $40,000, converted two courts at the Austin Tennis Center into eight permanent 36-foot 10 and Under Tennis courts. Four other courts received blended lines making them 60-foot 10 and Under Tennis courts. These conversions will further promote 10 and Under Tennis, and develop youth tennis in the city and in Texas.

“USTA Texas thanks the USTA and the Davis Cup Committee for the permanent Legacy from the 2011 Davis Cup at Austin Tennis Center that will benefit 10 and under youngsters in Austin for years to come,” said Ken McAllister, Executive Director of USTA Texas. “That is a real living legacy.”


The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Quarterfinal between the United States and Spain was held in Austin at the Frank Erwin Center from July 8-10, 2011. A capacity crowd of 16,269 attended each of the three-days of tennis totaling 48,807, which is the second highest attendance mark in U.S. Davis Cup history behind the 1990 World Group Final against Australia in St. Petersburg, Fla. (50,962).

Tennis Panorama News was media for the US versus Spain tie back in July.

All photos by Beth Wilson of

Austin City Councilwoman Laura Morrison holds up shirt signed by all of the members of the Spanish Davis Cup team

Related articles

Spain Upsets United States at Home for First Time to Advance to Davis Cup Semifinals

Bryan Brothers’ win Keeps US Alive in Davis Cup Against Spain

Davis Cup in Austin – Meet Steve Johnson – NCAA Champion and Davis Cup Practice Partner

Roddick Stunned by Ferrer at Home, Spain takes 2-0 Lead Over US in Davis Cup

Spain Grabs Opening Rubber Against US in Davis Cup Quarterfinal

Roddick, Fish and Bryan Brothers Participate in USTA Texas Tennis Festival


Gracias, Bogota by Junior Williams


Gracias, Bogota


By Junior Williams
I had a lot on my mind as my flight from Miami touched down at Bogota,Colombia’s El Dorado Airport Wednesday afternoon. Most prominent was whether or not I would regret my maiden voyage to South America.
A number of my tennis fan friends chose to skip the Davis Cup World Group Play-off between the United States and Colombia, citing U.S. State Department travel warnings and Bogota’s reputation for crime which goes back to the drug wars of the late 20th century.

When a driver from my hotel picked me up and engaged me in conversation -being nice enough not to ridicule my lack of fluency in Spanish – it was definitely a sign of things to come: Bogota is one of the friendliest cities I have ever visited.

I decided to spend my six days and five nights in the La Candelaria section of central Bogota, full of 300-year old colonial buildings,university students and narrow streets. My room at the Hotel Ambala was only $42 a night in U.S. currency, and the staff at the hotel made me feel very much at home.
The trade-off: A very small room with a bathroom you have to squeeze into,and the pulsating beat of bars and nightclubs into the wee hours of the morning. A far cry from the upscale JW Marriott in northern Bogota where the U.S. Davis Cup team is staying, but I’ll take the charm of La Candelaria any day of the week. 



National Capital building at Plaza de Bolivar




My American friend and I have been walking all over Bogota, from the Plaza de Bolivar – home of the national capital building – to the Plaza de Toros la Santamaria, the bullring hosting the Davis Cup. In this city that’s more than 8,600 feet above sea level, I can understand why many cited altitude as a big challenge for the U.S. team. We did lots of huffing and puffing in the hilly parts of Bogota.



Transmilenio/Museo de Oro station



When we weren’t walking, we took the Trans Milenio — a rapid transit bus system masquerading as a subway. It’s a good way to see other parts of the city, with mountain tops looking down over the metropolis.

Bogota is also the home of cheap and tasty eats, where you can get breakfasts and lunches for as little as $2 to $5 US (1800 Colombian Pesos= $1United States). Empanadas, tamales in banana leaves, and sizzling meats are just the tip of the iceberg. Dinners are also inexpensive, but don’t wait too late to go out for a meal. Very few restaurants are open past8pm.
Carrera 7 was a pleasant surprise on Friday night . No cars allowed. It was like a street fair for several blocks.

As far as safety is concerned, there is a heavy police presence in Bogota.It’s not unusual to see officers with muzzled dogs patrolling the streets.

The homeless are very savvy. Expect one of them to come to you and ask for change right after you purchase something on the street.



View of Bogota from Monserrate peak



While dining in a restaurant, I met a retiree who left Chicago to live in Bogota. I asked him for the must-see spots in the city. He mentioned Monserrate, a mountain top where a white church overlooks the Colombian capital.

I took his advice, and the views were breathtaking.


Monserrate Sanctuary



Since we were dining, he also gave me some “tips” on tipping, which is not customary in Bogota (though some eating establishments have service charges). He said if you want to give a tip, give it directly to the waiter or waitress. If you leave it on the table, anyone can take the money.
He also said Colombians are some of the nicest and most generous people you’ll ever meet. “If you ask for one thing, they’ll give you two or three.”
He went on to say that Bogota’s reputation as the most dangerous capital city in the world is unjustified.

I couldn’t agree more. Even when I was walking down crowded streets wearing clothes that screamed out I am an American, I’d get smiles,welcoming gestures and strike up friendly conversations with Bogotanos. 



I didn’t get a chance to see all of the hot spots here, such as the Museo del Oro which I hear is wonderful, but I’ll have plenty of fond memories of Colombia, and not just because of the tennis.
Gracias, Bogota! 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He was in Bogota reporting for Global Village Tennis News covering the US vs Colombia Davis Cup tie.

Davis Cup: Fish Keeps U.S. in World Group By Junior Williams

Bogota Bonus: Some Observations on Davis Cup by Junior Williams

Switch to Fish Completes a Winning Dish by Junior Williams

“Uncle Sam is in Trouble” – USA and Colombia at 1-1 on Day One of the Davis Cup World Group Play-offs by Junior Williams