June 28, 2017

United States Host Germany in Fed Cup First Round in Maui

Team USA, (Left to right) CoCo Vandeweghe, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Alison Riske, Shelby Rogers, Captain Kathy Rinaldi at the 2017 Fed Cup tie between the United States and Germany in Maui, HI on February 7.

 

 

(February 10, 2017) The United States takes on Germany in the first round of World Group this weekend in Maui. Day one’s schedule includes two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Sunday’s schedule features two “reverse singles” matches, where the No. 1 players square off and then the No. 2 players meet, followed by the doubles match.

 

The Royal Lahaina Resort hosts the tie which will lead off with world No. 40 Alison Riske taking on world No. 51 Andrea Petkovic.

 

Riske is playing in her first Fed Cup tie since 2015 and is competing in her second Fed Cup singles match, holding an 0-1 record. Riske peaked at a career-high No. 38 in the world this January after a strong start to 2017, highlighted by reaching her fifth career WTA singles final in Shenzhen and advancing to the third round of the Australian Open. Petkovic is competing in her 14th Fed Cup tie and holds a 12-6 Fed Cup singles record. She peaked at No. 9 in the world in October 2011 when she reached the quarterfinals of three different Grand Slams (Australian Open, French Open, and the US Open). She also advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 French Open. Riske and Petkovic have never faced each other in WTA competition.

 

The second match-up on Saturday will feature the United States’ top player Coco Vandeweghe against German Julia Goerges. Vandeweghe and Goerges have met three times on the WTA Tour, with Goerges holding a 2-1 record over Vandeweghe. Goerges won the last two meetings at the 2015 French Open (in three sets) and in Brussels in 2013. Vandeweghe defeated Goerges in Tokyo in 2010. Vandeweghe is ranked a career-high No. 20 in the world after advancing to the semifinals of the 2017 Australian Open—her career-best Grand Slam result. In Australia, she upset three seeded players, including then-world No. 1 Angelique Kerber, before falling to Venus Williams in the semifinals. Vandeweghe has played in four Fed Cup ties for the U.S., holding a 1-3 record in singles and a 3-0 record in doubles. Goerges is ranked No. 57 in the world and peaked at a career-high No. 15 in the world in April 2012. She holds two WTA titles and advanced to four additional finals. She is playing in her 14th Fed Cup tie and holds a 4-6 singles record in Fed Cup play.

 

Kathy Rinaldi will be making her debut as Fed Cup Captain in this match-up.Rinaldi was named the 19th U.S. Fed Cup Captain on December 8, succeeding Mary Joe Fernandez after eight years at the post. Rinaldi currently serves as Lead National Coach, Team USA – Pro Women for USTA Player Development, focused on helping American pros achieve Top-100 rankings. She has coached the U.S. to multiple junior international team competition titles and coached the U.S. women in the Pan-American Games in 2015. Rinaldi, 49, was ranked as high as No. 7 in the world in singles (May 1986) and No. 13 in the world in doubles (February 1993).

 

The winner of this matchup will advance to face either the Czech Republic or Spain in the World Group Semifinals, held April 22-23, for a chance to compete for the 2017 Fed Cup title. The losing nation will compete in the World Group Playoffs in April to remain in the World Group.

 

Order of Play

Saturday, 11:00 a.m. HST      

Singles A: Alison Riske (USA) vs. Andrea Petkovic (GER)

Singles B: Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Julia Goerges (GER)

 

Sunday, 10:00 a.m. HST  

Singles C: Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Andrea Petkovic (GER)

Singles D: Alison Riske (USA) vs. Julia Goerges (GER)

Doubles:Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Coco Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Laura Siegemund/Carina Witthoeft (GER)

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Davis Cup: U.S. Shuts Out The Swiss – Querrey, Johnson Close Out World Group First Round With Singles Wins

DAVIS CUP: U.S. SHUTS OUT THE SWISS
Querrey, Johnson Close Out World Group First Round With Singles Wins

By Junior Williams

(February 5, 2017) BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Americans Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson each posted straight sets victories in dead rubbers to give the United States a 5-0 victory over Switzerland in the Davis Cup World Group first round.

Querrey defeated lefty Adrien Bossel 6-3, 7-5 in a 73-minute match. The Californian blasted 16 aces past the 485th-ranked Bossel and faced zero break points.

It took Johnson only an hour to beat another Swiss left-hander — 20-year old Antoine Bellier — 6-4, 6-3, in a very entertaining match featuring powerful groundstrokes and strong returns. The players combined committed only 16 unforced errors for the entire match.

The U.S. now turns its attention to the quarterfinals in April, when the team will face Australia in a road tie. The Aussies will be looking for revenge after losing in the first round last year to the Americans in Kooyong.

Australia will be hosting team USA for a second straight tie, however, the visitor will have choice of ground – hardcourt. Normally nations alternate hosting ties, but the U.S. and Australia played consecutive ties in U.S. in 1997 and 1999, in order for the U.S. to host the 100th anniversary of Davis Cup at the Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hills, Mass., the site of the first-ever Davis Cup tie. TEam USA is 26-20 versus Australia in Davis Cup play.

Switzerland will try to remain in the World Group by winning its play-off match-up September 15-17.

—-

The U.S. victory marks the second straight American sweep of the Swiss. The last one was a 2012 shocker on clay in Fribourg, Switzerland that included Mardy Fish defeating Stan Wawrinka 9-7 in the 5th set, John Isner beating Roger Federer in four sets – and a doubles win for Mike Bryan and Fish over Federer and Wawrinka, also in four sets.

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 USA home ties. He is in Birmingham, Alabama covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Switzerland for Tennis Panorama News.

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Final results
Singles A: Jack Sock (USA) d. Marco Chiudinelli (SUI), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1
Singles B: John Isner (USA) d. Henri Laaksonen (SUI), 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(1)
Doubles: Jack Sock/Steve Johnson (USA)
d. Adrien Bossel/Henri Laaksonen (SUI), 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(5)
Singles C: Sam Querrey (USA) d. Adrien Bossel (SUI), 6-3, 7-5
Singles D: Steve Johnson (USA) d. Antoine Bellier (SUI), 6-4, 6-3

 

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Davis Cup: U.S. Clinches Quarterfinal Berth; Sock and Johnson defeat Switzerland In World Group First Round Tie

DAVIS CUP: U.S. CLINCHES QUARTERFINAL BERTH

Sock and Johnson defeat Switzerland In World Group First Round Tie

 

 

By Junior Williams

 

(February 4, 2017) BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – For the clincher, United States Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier called on the 2016 Olympic bronze medal doubles team.

Jack Sock and Steve Johnson delivered for the U.S. with a 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over Switzerland’s Adrien Bossel and Henri Laaksonen. The win gives the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead in this World Group first round tie, advancing to the quarterfinals, where they’ll face Australia on the road for a second consecutive year.

Both Courier and Swiss Captain Severin Luthi switched up their originally scheduled lineups: Jack Sock replaced Sam Querrey for the Americans, while Luthi went with Laaksonen instead of Antoine Bellier. Laaksonen had an impressive return of serve during Friday’s second singles rubber, despite losing to John Isner in four sets.

The U.S. took the lead in the first set, winning a tiebreak capped by a Steve Johnson forehand winner up the sideline to go up 6-3, followed by a Johnson forehand that was hit long by the Swiss. The Americans won 85-percent of their first serve points in the set.

Serving in the first game of the second set, Jack Sock vehemently disputed a lineman’s foot fault call, but to no avail. As the game went on the U.S. found itself in a 0-40 hole, but eventually staved off those three break points and held serve. The Americans broke the Swiss in the next game, which ended with a thrilling rally punctuated by a Sock winner at net — bringing fans at the Legacy Arena at Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex to their feet.

Both teams exchanged breaks of serve later in the set, but the U.S. went on to win it on a Sock service winner. A stellar performance at the net by Johnson also a major factor contributing to the Americans’ two set lead.

Switzerland refused to go quietly. Spurred on by their fans chanting “Hop Suisse,” the Swiss team broke the U.S. to go up 3-1 in the third set on a Laaksonen overhead smash at net. But the visitors blew a golden opportunity when the Americans staved off three set points and broke Switzerland to get the set back on serve at 5-4.

The U.S. closed out the rubber and clinched the tie by winning a third set tiebreak, which ended with the Swiss at net hitting the ball past the baseline. After each team shook hands, the American team took a victory lap around the court with the U.S. flag, cheered on by the home crowd.

Despite being heavy underdogs without their top guns Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, the Swiss have given the U.S. a good fight – and will attempt to remain in Davis Cup’s top tier when they compete in the World Group Play-offs this coming September.

“If you lose, it’s disappointed that you lost,” noted Swiss captain Severin Luthi. “I mean, I’m never like happy when we lose or if I lose. Even if it’s card games or whatever, I’m never happy.

“So disappointed. But, again, I have to say the same as yesterday. It wasn’t the performance of the players at all, you know. I thought they gave everything. They were, yeah — they had chances first and third set, and unfortunately we just couldn’t make it.”

Australia will be hosting team USA for a second straight tie, however, the visitor will have choice of ground – hardcourt. Normally nations alternate hosting ties, but the U.S. and Australia played consecutive ties in U.S. in 1997 and 1999, in order for the U.S. to host the 100th anniversary of Davis Cup at the Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hills, Mass., the site of the first-ever Davis Cup tie.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to go back and battle those guys (Australia) again,” said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier. “They came through pretty comfortably as well. Hugely talented team. Passionate Davis Cup nation. Had a lot of fun playing down in Melbourne with them.

“Obviously got the result we wanted which makes it a lot more fun, but they’re a knowledgeable crowd and they have won a ton of Davis Cups, so they know what it’s all about.

“It will be exciting for us to go down. We’re already talking about it, looking forward to it. We have work to do tomorrow. We’re not your overlooking the matches on Sunday. We will be ready to play tomorrow for sure, even though this thing is decided.

“I think I can speak for all of us when I say we’re anxious to get down there and battle on. We really want to get out to the semifinals and see what we can do this year.”

Two dead rubbers are scheduled for Sunday – and we have yet to see Querrey and Bellier play in this tie.

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 USA home ties. He is in Birmingham, Alabama covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Switzerland for Tennis Panorama News.

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U.S. Davis Captain Jim Courier on Tie Against Switzerland: “We don’t expect it to be easy”

U. S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier

(January 31, 2017) The United States Davis Cup team will face off in the first round of World Group against Switzerland at the Legacy Arena at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Alabama.  The Swiss team will be without their top players – world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and No. 10 Roger Federer, who won the Australian Open on Sunday for his 18th major.

The U.S. team will consist of No. 20 Jack Sock,  No. 23 John Isner, No. 27 Sam Querrey and No. 31 Steve Johnson. Representing team Switzerland will be No. 127 Henri Laaksonen, No. 146 Marco Chiudinelli No. 485 Adrien Bossel and No. 598 Antoine Bellier.

Back on 2009, the U.S. also played Switzerland in Birmingham.

Both teams took part in pre-draw news conferences on Tuesday.

Playing Switzerland without their top two players, looks like an easy task for team USA this weekend, but USA Captain Jim Courier says there are no “gimmies.”

“Now, rankings don’t mean anything,” he said. “Once you get on the court, the ball doesn’t care what your ranking is. You have to hit the shots and win the points.

“We come in ready to play and ready to fight for every point. We don’t expect it to be easy.”

We’re confident that we have four great players here ready to go to battle in five matches,” Courier continued.

“It’s nice to play at home, of course. Nice to have a facility that we like, like this, a court that we like, like this. It’s not always the case.”

Swiss Captain Severin Luthi acknowledged that this weekend won’t be an easy task without Wawrinka and Federer.

“We have the best players behind them here, he said. “We’re going to try to do our best and give 100%. We’ll also try to improve this week. All the rest really doesn’t matter for us.”

“I think one of our strengths is really that the players we have here, especially Marco and Henri, who played more matches already in Davis Cup, they’re always playing well. They give all the time 100%. They’re ready to fight. Yeah, they had good results in Davis Cup. I think that’s one of our big strengths.

“With Antoine, we have a rather young player who is playing the first time last year and helped us staying in the Group. With Adrien also we won the doubles there.

“Obviously we’re completely outsiders here, but as I said, we’re going to try our best and give 100%.”

Bob and Mike Bryan announced their retirement from playing Davis Cup last week during the Australian Open.

“We were blessed to have Bob and Mike on our team for so many years,” Courier said. “They’re incredible. We’ll miss them for sure.

“I have a lot of confidence in these guys. Any combination of these four players would be a very, very good doubles team.

“It is different to not have Bob and Mike here. I wouldn’t say it’s better, but I would say that we feel comfortable that we have great options at our disposal for all of the matches.”

Swiss Captain Luthi was asked if the absence of the Bryan brothers was advantage to his team: “Honestly, I don’t think that it’s a big advantage because they have more flexibility like that for singles also. When they had the brothers in the team, you knew which players are going to play singles.

“Now, like I mentioned, I think all four players can also play doubles. They can change. They can wait and see how the matches on Friday went.

“I don’t think that it’s an advantage for us.”

The draw ceremony will take place on Thursday at the Birmingham Zoo at Noon.

The Davis Cup ties takes place  this weekend February 3-5, on an indoor hard court. Singles play begins at 3:00 p.m. CT on Friday, February 3. Doubles play begins on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. CT. The final two singles matches will be held on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. CT. Tennis Channel will broadcast daily coverage.

The winner of this tie advances to the World Group Quarterfinals to be played April 7-9, against the winner of the Czech Republic vs. Australia tie. The losing nation will compete in the World Group Playoff, Sept. 15-17, for the right to remain in the World Group in 2018.

 

For information on the tie from the USTA .

Related Articles:

Isner, Sock, Johnson and Querrey Named to U.S. Davis Cup Team

Bryan Brothers Retire From U.S. Davis Cup Team

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

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Murray seals the deal as GB win their first round tie over the USA again

Murray UnderArmour

(March 8, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – If at all possible the applause the loudest it has been for the three days, as the live fourth rubber set up a thrilling conclusion to the Great Britain-US Davis Cup tie.

 

With a vocal John Isner thundering down six aces in just his second service game, before he closed it out, you had a feeling we could be going to very long tie-breaks. After all if Isner hits six aces he would expect to be up by a couple of games at least, and not requiring that effort just to nab his second.

 

In fact it was the flat-footed-sounding Isner that flirted with the first break-point opportunities dulling the enthusiasm of the Glasgow crowd for just a little. There would be more drama to come in the eighth game as Murray put the crowd’s loyalty through its paces delivering them two double-faults and fending off three break points before finally grinding out a hold.

 

Isner might be one big unit but he showed early on how he could keep pace in the kinds of rallies that Murray likes to use. And it’s not as if the Brit was struggling with his movement, even throwing in one of those drop shots at a crunch moment for an audacious winner.

 

But there was no denying that Isner was beginning to get his eye in. He was less vocal and less slap-footed around the court now as he sensed he could turn the screw. Pushing Andy Murray every step of the way as the Brit was serving at 4-5, Isner forced 3 set points as the weak second Murray serve presented very hittable opportunities. Yet he could not take advantage as Murray dredged up serves to get him out of trouble.

 

We got to a first set tie-break, but not quite in the manner we thought, and soe terrible shot-making from Isner put GB in front by just enough to keep the advantage, and a collective sigh of relief from 7,700 people.

 

The second set saw Murray hold his serve much more comfortably, and even if Isner was getting a look at his second serve, much of the American’s pace on his whipping forehand was tempered as Murray earned his first break point on the Isner serve after one hour and 25 minutes. Even then, Murray showed him no less than three looks at a second serve as he worked to consolidate the break, to no avail for the American.

Two sets up, the question was would this go the distance, or even creep over four sets? Again there were moments when it looked as though Isner would steal the upper hand as Murray squandered his challenges and sent a few pleading looks the way of the umpire as Isner’s serves thundered past him.

 

Pushing up to a tie-break again, there was a huge crescendo of noise which, if anything, was louder than Murray’s entry into the arena. If the first mini-break was enough to get hopes up, as Murray surged ahead to finish it with an ace to book the British team into the quarter-finals. Final score 7-6(4), 6-3, 7-6(4).

 

Interviewed on court after jumping around with members of the team, Murray did the honours in thanking the crowd as well as hinting that perhaps it might be time for Tennis Scotland to use grass for something other than football.

 

“The whole week has been so much fun. This is one of the most special atmospheres I’ve ever played in so I would like to say a big thank you to all these guys,“ Murray said.

“With a home tie against France in the summer I’d imagine we would try to put that on a grass court. I don’t know how many they have in Glasgow but if they could lay one that would be great as the atmosphere has been incredible.”

“To be in the quarterfinals for a second year when it hasn’t happened for so long is incredible.”

Last year the British team also knocked out the USA in the first round of Davis Cup on a clay court in San Diego.

 

“This is a deserved win,” Murray said. “The attitude of everyone was excellent. Everyone fought extremely hard, especially when we were behind in the matches, no one gave up. Every person played extremely hard.

“It was huge momentum for us in winning James’ (Ward) match. We were also so close yesterday to winning 3-0, so I felt some pressure today to close it out. The way John approached the match made it difficult.”

Asked about Great Britain’s chances to win Davis Cup, US Captain Jim Courier said:

“When you have a great champion like Andy, against most teams, they should feel like they are up 2-0 going in. The way their doubles team played was impressive. Bob and Mike played unbelievably well yesterday and they were pushed to the wire. It only takes three to win.”

So where does the US Davis Cup team go from here?

“Our team changes, ‘ Courier said.  “You always try to make some adjustments and go forward. We play again in September, so I have time to assess everything. It takes time to process defeats like this and try to figure out what you can learn from it and improve going forward.”

 

With the next tie straight after Wimbledon, debates are already taking place as to where possible venues could be, as the prospect of holding an outside tournament in an English summer against the French could be intriguing.

The Davis Cup quarter-finals will take place between July 17 – 19.

As for the United States, they will play for a chance to stay in the World Group the week after the US Open concludes in September in the World Group Play-offs.

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist.

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Bryan Brothers Keep Hope Alive for US with Five-set Win in Davis Cup

Bryan-Brothers-Tennis-Panorama

(March 7, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – If you had asked anyone at the start of the day whether they would expect to be on the edge of their seats once more in Glasgow, you would have been hard pushed to find anyone to agree with you.

For team USA, the Bryan brothers came to play and they ripped through the first two sets in less than an hour, and even had match points to end it all in the fourth set, but somehow the Brits found a way to hang on.

It was not the easiest of comebacks for Jamie Murray, who got the nod to play along with the in-form Dominic Inglot who had already recorded two wins this season over the twins.

Finally holding his serve in the third set, it seemed to spur the Brits on to greater glories as the Bryan’s intensity dropped a little, while Dominic Inglot proved to be on fire at the net and Murray started to paint the lines with burning accuracy,

There was a hint of danger for the scratch pairing in front of an enthusiastic home crowd as the tall rangy Inglot found himself under pressure to hold his serve for the first time but dig himself out of a whole with some very solid serving as Murray dug deep to hold again to force a fourth set tie-breaker.

Two set points came and went for the Brits but they struggled to make it count, and a nifty Bryan poach suddenly brought up match point for the Americans. The threats seemed to come quick and fast for the Brits, and once more the risks paid off for the home team as they forced the decider.

It looked as though this match would be another long one, but at 7-7 a Murray volley found the net to give the Bryans a chance to serve it out, and they took it to set up a thrilling close.

Inglot just catching the edge of his racquet to a stinging return from the Bryan’s spelled danger as they took the mini-break for a 5-3 lead on their serve. A great stretch from Inglot pulled the Brits back on serve as the Brits clung on to bring up their first set point to force a decider. Inglot was poaching once more at the net to bring up their second set point but the pair could not find a way to close once more. A Bryan interception spun the advantage to the visitors, on their serve.

Inglot’s thundering return kept the Brits hanging in and Murray painting the lines brought up a third set point for the Brits, forcing the Americans into a decider.

Despite both Inglot and Murray requiring treatment during the decider, no quarter was being given now by either pairing as the fifth set wound its way on. With the threat of the first break points looming for the Americans on Murray’s serve at 7-7, a nicked edge saved the Brits albeit briefly and Murray’s missed half volley finding the net handing the Bryans a chance to serve for the match as they closed out the visitors’ first win.

The Bryans picked up their first five set win in the Davis Cup, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(8), 9-7, previously having been 0-2, but then they had also never lost in the Davis Cup from two sets up.

They admitted how much it meant to get their first five set win in the Davis Cup, saying: “We lost a couple of heartbreakers in 2013 so if we got this opportunity again, we were actually telling each other let’s erase all that pain and this was a great way to do it, is to win an very emotional match, I thought we played a great match, those guys didn’t give us an inch all day. Jamie returned well and served well. They made a ton of first serves and cleaned up the volleys. We had to bring out best stuff to win.”

“We didn’t let up,” Mike Bryan chimed in. “They hit great returns. They were going for it the whole way. We had been playing well all week and we played a great match today and it came down to a few points. The margins were really small. We had a couple of looks in the fourth set. But, all credit to them. They hit some alley shots and lines and served big when they had to. It came down to the wire.”

“The biggest luxury is having these guys on the team,” said US Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier of the Bryan brothers. “They continue to come through for us.”

John Isner will face Andy Murray in the live fourth rubber in reverse singles on Sunday with Great Britain leading the tie 2-1.

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist.

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James Ward pulls it out of the bag once more as Great Britain takes a 2-0 lead over the USA in Davis Cup

(March 6, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – It was always going to be a tough ask for James Ward to come up against John Isner and pull out the same kind of miraculous win he did against Sam Querrey in San Diego.

 

The British No. 2 has been working hard on his fitness, and it showed as he kept pace with Isner in the first set, even building up enough of a head of steam to lead 4-2 in the first set tie-break before the US No. 1 thumped home five points in a row to deny him.

 

The crowd was kept at bay after their noisy enthusiasm in the first match when Isner broke to pick off the second set, and it was sure to be a long way back for the Londoner.

 

But there is something about Davis Cup that brings out the best in James Ward. Jim Courier may have described him as streaky but when he has his good patches, they can be hugely impressive, as he pushed through a third set tie-break and this time there was no relinquishing any advantage.

 

For a time it looked as though Isner would pick up the pace and close this out in the fourth set but somehow Ward found a way to push through again, and from what had looked like a winning position, Isner was facing yet another marathon.

 

Ward seemed to have the fresher legs – Courier had expressed his admiration for Ward’s energy and performance in San Diego even when he was down, whereas Isner looked increasingly more tired. He could barely even stretch for balls but denied suffering from cramp in his post match press conference.

 

Losing 15-13 in the fifth hurt, as he very candidly shared as he faced the media with Jim Courier at his side. After having won the epic match at Wimbledon, he admitted he had lost tough matches before, but this was quite raw.

 

He said: “I’ve lost a lot of tough matches before. They suck. Simple as that. It’s brutal and I’m barely going to sleep tonight. It’s awful.”

 

He continued: “I’m healthy, mentally I’m certainly a bit shaken right now, but I’ve got to be a professional and bring my best on Sunday. Tomorrow I’ll rest. I don’t feel too chipper right now, but as Jim said I’ll let it rip on Sunday if the match is live.”

 

For Ward, the 6-7(4), 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3), 15-13 win was just as emotional, and he sounded quite choked up as he gave his on-court post-match interview, saying: “This is by far the best atmosphere I’ve ever been part of in the Davis Cup. I would prefer it if I didn’t have to play these five-set matches every time, but the crowd was incredible and really helped.”

 

Great Britain ends day one up 2-0, need just one more victory to clinch the tie. The doubles rubber will be played on Saturday with Bob and Mike Bryan trying to keep tie hopes alive for the US when they face the British team of Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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Andy Murray Dominates Donald Young to Give Great Britain 1-0 Lead in Davis Cup

(March 6, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – In front of a rapturous crowd, Andy Murray’s triumphant homecoming started in fine style as he delivered a four set win over Donald Young in the Davis Cup World Group first round tie against the USA.

Ahead of the tie, he had seemed downbeat and almost wary of the reception he would receive but he needn’t have worried as the crowd roared their approval as he was introduced before the tie began.

From the outset he was moving well, with great range and focus, and Young was little more than a bystander as the first set shot by in 21 minutes, swiftly followed by the second as Murray built up a 6-1, 6-1 lead.

Earlier this week USA Team Captain Jim Courier stressed that the one thing he had learned was to communicate with his team and there was plenty of that going on as he tried to pick the demoralised Young up, and it started to work for him as Murray’s intensity dulled a little in the third set.

Young said: “He started to miss a little more, I kinda loosened up. I was getting whupped pretty good so I started to hit the ball and was able to string some points together in a row an get into his service games which I could not do in the first two sets.”

Murray admitted that although he had let his guard down a little in the third set, he was very happy with the win.

“I had a slight maybe lull in intensity but I couldn’t maintain the intensity I had in the first couple of sets in the whole match, because it was tough, but I was really happy with the way I played.”

It was perhaps more vital to give Young a little more confidence should the tie come down to a live fifth rubber, but Murray lifted his game for the early break at the start of the third set, and did not look back, securing a double break buffer and serving the match out for the win 6-1, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

After the match he spoke about the crowd, in the sold-out Emirates Arena.

“It’s the biggest home tie that I’ve played, in front of the biggest crowd. I would say definitely the biggest indoor crowd. When we played at Wimbledon the crowds were big but the stadium also wasn’t full.

“I think that when I played at the Olympics as well it was a similar sort of reception there, and that’s the nice thing about playing in the Davis Cup, is having these home ties that you can play in front of crowds that are right behind you. That’s the best part of the competition.”

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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Davis Cup in Glasgow: Communication Key for Courier

(March 5, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – While it was a jolly British team, joking amongst themselves who took to the round of interviews first, it was an altogether more thoughtful Unites States team that offered their thoughts after the Davis Cup first round draw was made.

 

Donald Young will be the first to face the home crowds in Andy Murray’s old stomping grounds, and having scored a famous victory over Murray during his 2011 post-Australian Open final walkabout, Young has hardly troubled the Brit since, but after being pulled in last year in San Diego to replace an injured John Isner, this time he was picked in his own right. His results over the past month have lent some much-needed consistency to his play, and this in turn has given him some confidence.

 

Leading the news conference questions, Young said: “I feel more comfortable and confident than last year. Last year was my first time competing in Davis Cup. I had a ton of nerves starting the match off. It will be a tough match either way because Andy is a great player, but I feel like I am playing well and I look forward to seeing what happens.”

 

With Isner having made some measure of James Ward, as they play the second rubber, he acknowledged that the Brits have chosen a surface and speed to perhaps dull his chances as well as making the transition for Murray a little easier.

 

He said: “It may neutralise my serve a little bit. But I’m happy with the court. The British team chose it, we have no control.”

 

Of course he is the favourite to steam through and put the pressure back on the Brits. While Murray played down his chances of partnering with his elder brother Jamie, Bob and Mike Bryan know that a match up between them and the Murrays is what the Saturday crowd will really want. But while Jamie Murray’s consistent play earned him a spot back in the Davis Cup side over stalwart Colin Fleming, it is Dominic Inglot who has the upper hand so far over the Bryans.

 

Bob said: “Dom Inglot has the hot hand, he’s played us well in the last couple of matches so we’re prepared for him.” Mike agreed, adding, “He’s aggressive, he’s a big guy – not really lob-able. He’s all over the net. He plays with a lot of power, which is the kind of the new age of doubles, the power game. So you’ve got to find a way to break him, which is tough. You know if I was the coach, it would tough to leave a guy who has a hot hand off the team so he’s got a tough decision.”

 

Above all though Courier knows that his communication with the team will be key – something he feels he has learned to improve in every tie.

Courier said: “I think, from my experience with Donald on the bench in San Diego now, we have some communication that we can rely on because we’ve been through a match and the fire together. It’s important he and I are comfortable together because these guys need to feel comfortable because they’re used to playing their whole lives without someone sitting next to them talking to them during the match.

“It’s important that I stay out of their or get in their way when I need to interject and do it at the right times, and that’s a judgment call based on experience.

“Now Donald and I have some, John, Bob and Mike and I have a lot of experience in that realm so far, so I’m feeling more comfortable, I hope they are.”

The time for talking though is now over, and come 1pm in UK time Young will walk out to a ferociously passionate crowd and a home hero in every sense of the word.

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

Order of Play for the tie:

Friday, March 6 – 1:00 p.m.   

Singles A: Donald Young (USA) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)

Singles B: John Isner (USA) vs. James Ward (GBR)

Saturday, March 7 – 1:00 p.m.                      

Doubles: Bob and Mike Bryan (USA) vs. Jamie Murray/Dominic Inglot (GBR)

Sunday, March 8 – 1:00 p.m.                         

Singles C: John Isner (USA) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)

Singles D: Donald Young (USA) vs. James Ward (GBR)

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Davis Cup in Glasgow – Can the US overturn Britain’s home advantage?

(March 4, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – The pre-draw news conference was really a tale of two confident captains and cautious players, as the teams readied themselves for the Davis Cup World Group first round, as Great Britain plays host to the USA.

 

British Team Captain Leon Smith did a lot of the talking, between dispensing with any discussion about the possible ramifications of Andy Murray’s support for the Scottish Referendum, Yes vote at the eleventh hour, preferring to concentrate on the tennis, but Courier was quick to acknowledge that they were aware of the situation.

 

“We obviously know there’s some political undercurrent here as well, we’re aware of that. I think it just adds a little bit of intrigue and it’s another wrinkle of the element in this competition. We know what it means to everyone to play for their country and maybe a little extra special for Andy and Jamie playing here in Scotland. For us it is business but we’re also aware of that extra little wrinkle.”

 

As much as Smith believed that the US had not used their advantage to its full effect last year, US Captain Jim Courier knows the power his players have to inflict the same result on the hosts.

 

Courier continued: “There’s something beautiful for a player to be able to silence a crowd with a shot if you’re the foreign player and I’m sure Andy and James experienced that in San Diego with us last year, and we’d like to experience it here an there’s something magnificent about that and there’s obviously something incredible when you get the crowd behind you and you’re playing at home. It’s a very different feeling for sure but there’s beauty in both sides.”

 

While US No. 2 Sam Querrey is out with an injury, and more pressing matters as the star of Millionaire Matchmaker in the US, the American No. 1 John Isner is ready to do battle after the disappointment of pulling out injured from his home tie last year.

 

Isner said: “I wasn’t able to compete which was tough to swallow and for me, I’ve played more road matches than home matches so its tough to miss a home match. The venue was beautiful, the crowd was great. It was tough to sit back and watch, but I’m here, I’m healthy and I’m ready to go and ready to help our country this time.”

 

Donald Young is the US No. 2 on this occasion and despite a little tendonitis, he is ready to build on his Davis Cup debut last year. Courier had nothing but praise for his second pick, stating that while Isner and the Bryan brothers were certainties, it was down to either Young or Steve Johnson, who has been speeding up the rankings, in the running.

 

Courier explained: “The second spot was in play this past month in February, and Donald really performed well, semis of Memphis, finals in Delray Beach and Sam suffered a back injury which really took him out of the running, so it came down to Donald and Steve and Donald outperformed and earned the spot.”

 

The draws for the tie will take place on Thursday, and the first singles rubbers will be played on Friday with the often decisive doubles rubber on Saturday and the reverse singles on Sunday. Things could come down to a fifth rubber and the British hero of the hour last year in San Diego, James Ward is ready.

 

Ward said: “Obviously it gave me a lot of confidence to push on for the rest of the year and the probably the biggest moment of my career winning that away from home in such a big tie. As Andy said it’s a completely different tie, Querrey’s not here. Playing John is going to be a different match altogether on a different surface so we’ll see what happens on Friday.”

 

He continued: “I’m looking to play well on Friday and get the win there so it doesn’t come down to it.”

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist.

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