USTA PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS WITH COLLEGIATE TENNIS TO FEATURE TOP JUNIOR AND COLLEGIATE PLAYERS AT AUDI NAPA VALLEY TENNIS CLASSIC

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., September 18, 2012 – The USTA announced today that eight of America’s top juniors will play in a unique tournament format, competing against some of the country’s top collegiate players in the Audi Napa Valley Tennis Classic, September 21-23 at Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena,Calif.

This will mark the third straight year juniors are incorporated into the 12-year-old event, a round-robin style tournament that rewards its winner with a USTA wild card entry into a USTA Pro Circuit event. The tournament will feature eight ofAmerica’s premier juniors competing against four players from six NCAA Division I schools, includingCalifornia,Berkeley,Georgia,Harvard,Illinois, Stanford andTexas.

 

“We’re excited that another group of our top juniors gets to compete against some very strong collegians in a respected, valuable event,” said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development.

 

“Collegiate competition is a significant part of the pathway from junior tennis to professional tennis, and letting our juniors compete with college veterans will only benefit their mental and physical development.”

 

Each school will send four players to compete alongside the eight juniors, and the 32-man field will be split into eight pools featuring three collegians and a junior (See page two for a full list of participants).

 

Following three matches in pool play, the eight pool winners will compete in the PlayBrave USTA Wild Card Shootout, a single-elimination, 10-point tiebreak tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive a USTA-sponsored wild card into a USTA Pro Circuit event that is yet to be determined.

 

The Audi Napa Valley Tennis Classic is the first of three events this fall combining juniors and collegians. Similar tournaments will be held inPortland,Ore., (women’s) and Orlando (men’s) in November, featuring

juniors and collegians yet to be named.

 

The Classic, which was founded 12 years ago by Cal coach Peter Wright and Meadowood Tennis Director Doug King, will feature junior players for the third consecutive year after being held exclusively for collegians from 2001-09. The 2010 Classic included Jack Sock, who reached the third round of the 2012 US Open, whileCalsenior Nick Andrews claimed the 2011 title. This year’s roster of juniors was selected by USTA Player Development based on ATP rankings (if applicable), national junior rankings and results, and a selection of younger players for developmental purposes.

 

“Bringing the elite juniors and college players together inNapaprovides a unique opportunity to help American junior development,” said Wright. “The event was a major success last year and we look forward to another year of high-quality competition.”

 

This will be the 12th consecutive year the event has been held at Meadowood, with Audi returning as the title sponsor.

 

USTA and Collegiate Tennis: For the third straight year this fall, the USTA will serve as title sponsor and host of the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s indoor tennis center. The USTA will also serve as the title sponsor of the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, the USTA/ITA National Collegiate Wheelchair Championships and more than 85 USTA/ITA Regional Tournaments. In all, close to 10,000 players from nearly 600 schools participate annually in the USTA/ITA Regional Championships. The USTA also names its Collegiate Team, an elite training program for top American collegiate tennis players that began in 1996 and is funded by the USTA. It is designed to provide college players with valuable exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit in a team-oriented environment during the year. Current pros who were members of prior USTA Summer Collegiate Teams include: James Blake, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, John Isner, Amer Delic, Jesse Levine, Mallory Burdette and Irina Falconi.

 

Audi Napa Valley Tennis Classic – Roster of Participants

USTA Juniors

Deiton Baughman (16,Carson,Calif.)

Robbie Bellamy (17, PacificPalisades,Calif.)

Gage Brymer (17,Irvine,Calif.)

Henry Craig (17,Murietta,Calif.)

Joseph DiGiulio (17,Lakewood,Calif.)

TJ Pura (17, PacificPalisades,Calif.)

Jack Murray (17,Beverly Hills,Mich.)

Konrad Zieba (17,Glenview,Ill.)

 

University of California, Berkeley

Mads Engsted (FR,Aarhus,Denmark)

Chris Konigsfeldt (SR,Rungsted Kyst,Denmark)

Ben McLachlan (JR,Queenstown,New Zealand)

Riki McLachlan (SR,Queenstown,New Zealand)

 

Stanford University

Daniel Ho (JR,Rosemead,Calif.)

Matt Kandath (SR,Gansevoort,N.Y.)

John Morrissey (SO,Dublin,Ireland)

Robert Stineman (SO,Winnetka,Ill.)

 

University of Georgia

Garrett Brasseaux (JR,Mandeville,La.)

Eric Diaz (SO,Athens,Ga.)

Nathan Pasha (SO,Atlanta,Ga.)

Ben Wagland (FR,New South Wales,Australia)

 

Harvard University

Shaun Chaudhuri (FR,Pleasanton,Calif.)

Casey MacMaster (FR,Fort Collins,Colo.)

Denis Nguyen (FR,Anaheim,Calif.)

Alex Steinroeder (FR,Concord,Mass.)

 

University of Illinois

Farris Gosea (SO,Cardiff,Wales, United Kingdom)

Stephen Hoh (SR,Eaglemont,Victoria,Australia)

Tim Kopinski (SO,Palos Hills,Ill.)

Brian Page (FR,Wheaton,Ill.)

 

University of Texas

Lloyd Glasspool (SO,Birmingham,England)

Soren Hess-Olesen (SO,Aarhus,Denmark)

Sudanwa Sitaram (JR,Coimbatore,India)

Daniel Whitehead (SR,Sugar Land,Texas)

 

*Participants subject to change.

 

# # #

 

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in theU.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game.

A not-for-profit organization with more than 785,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Emirates Airline US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and helps underserved youth and people with disabilities. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, “like” the official Facebook page facebook.com/usta or follow @usta on Twitter.

Samantha Crawford Wins Girls Junior Championship

FLUSHING, N.Y., September 9, 2012 – The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today announced that American Samantha Crawford of Atlanta, Ga., captured the 2012 US Open Girls’ Junior Championship with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over No. 12 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sunday. Crawford, who currently trains at the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla., is the second consecutive American to win the US Open Junior Girls’ title, and the third in the past five years.

“We are extremely proud of Sam and the total team effort of her family, coach Kathy Rinaldi and the entire USTA Player Development team Boca Raton,” said USTA General Manager, Player Development Patrick McEnroe.

Crawford follows Grace Min, in 2011, and CoCo Vandeweghe, in 2008, as Americans to win US Open Junior titles in the last five years. Crawford’s victory also completes an American sweep of the 2012 US Open Junior Girls’ titles after Taylor Townsend, of Jonesboro, Ga., and Gabrielle Andrews, of Pomona, Calif., won the doubles championship on Saturday.

Crawford, a 17-year-old wild card in the 2012 US Open Junior Championship, defeated five of the Top 12 seeds to win her first major girls’ singles title and cap an impressive summer. Crawford, as a wild card, qualified for the US Open singles main draw and took Great Britain’s Laura Robson to a second-set tiebreak in the first round. She also played in the US Open women’s doubles and mixed doubles main draws, earning a wild card entry into the former after winning the USTA Girls’ 18s Nationals doubles title with partner Allie Kiick, of Plantation, Fla.

Crawford was playing in just her fifth ITF world junior circuit event of the year. Prior to the US Open, she played in two USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 events in 2012, reaching the final in Yakima, Wash., and the semifinal in Sacramento.

Working At The Open Was a Dream

Experiencing the US Open from any perspective is special but working in the media room during the Open is one of the few ways to see the tournament from every perspective. For every 2010 US Open night session I worked in the USTA media room and helped assist over 1700 media credentialed guests by distributing stats and interview transcripts. Although this job was categorized as work, I never thought of it as that.

The media personalities I met, the people I worked with and the contacts I made, in addition to being a part of the fanfare, made my first US Open experience one that I will never forget. It’s true that maybe I was easily thrilled because I moved to the big city only a month ago from North Carolina so I’m still amused by everyday life in New York, but this excitement was on another level.

The diversity of the tennis media is one of the things that sets tennis apart from other sports. Tennis is played on every continent in the world, so imagine a room full of people from hundreds of different cultures and nationalities participating in an industry that is more laid back and casual than most other professions. It’s a culture clash to say the least, but the beauty of it is that the love of the game brought everyone together for those two weeks. Household tennis names like Bud Collins were seen in the media room as often as everyday. Two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo was present during the second week, working with the French media. Patrick McEnroe even stopped by on the day that he stepped down as Captain of the United States Davis Cup Team to talk about his resignation.

Walking on the Open grounds is something that every tennis fan should experience at least once in their lifetime. Making my periodic visit to the umpire’s office was always an adventure. On multiple occasions I walked past Brad Gilbert and said “BG!” and every time he gave me a smile and a head nod. Several times I followed a crowd of people rushing to the practice courts to find Nadal, Federer, Djokovic or another top contender preparing for their next match. Fans are eager to find another rising star with the personality to match and the Open grounds give players the chance to build their fan base. Dustin Brown, the 25 year old Jamaican who put on a show in Ashe Stadium during his second round loss to Andy Murray, took full advantage of the opportunity. He walked around the grounds after his loss and happily signed autographs and took pictures with fans while his Jamaican entourage tagged along.

One of the more interesting things to watch over the two weeks was the buzz around Rafael Nadal and his official coming out party as a sports icon. Yes, Nadal had eight Grand Slam titles and a solid fan base coming into this year’s Open, but there’s always been a slight resistance to make him the fan favorite. As he advanced through each round of the Open, you could hear the buzz surrounding Nadal grow louder and louder. By the end of the second week it seemed that every person on the grounds was wearing an article of clothing with Rafa’s Bull logo or some other piece from Nadal’s Nike-endorsed US Open wardrobe. There’s no question who will be the fan favorite when Nadal comes back to defend his title in 2011, and I hope to also come back and do it again next year.

Follow me on twitter: @jonithom

Fish Finishes Off Columbia As The United States Advances

Mardy Fish lost 30 pounds over the last year.We all know that by now.What we don’t fully realize is that Fish may be the best player in the United States right now.Certainly the Colombian Davis Cup team would not disagree with that as Fish became the first American in 15 years to win three David Cup matches in one tie.

Fish defeated Santiago Giraldo of Colombia,3-6,6-3,7-5,4-6,8-6 in Bogota today on red clay to clinch the victory.There is no fifth set tiebreaker in Davis Cup tennis.

With the win,the United States advanced to the World Group.Only once in history has the United States not advanced to the World Group.Columbia has never advanced to the World Group.

Isner won his opening match in 5 sets against Alejandro Falla and teamed with John Isner to win the doubles.Isner dropped his opening singles contest to Giraldo.

It has been quite a year for Fish.He won at Newport and Atlanta and lost in the finals at Cincinnat to Roger Federer after beating Andy Murray.

Fish had two wrist surgeries in 2005 and fell to #341 in the world.That is long forgotten.

The win allowed Patrick McEnroe to keep advancing as United States Davis Cup Captain.He had announced at the US Open that he would step down as davis Cup Captain after this Davis Cup year is over.

Fish and Isner Put The U.S. In Great Position

Not taking any chances, United States Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe made a switch to the veteran Mardy Fish to replace young Ryan Harrison on day two of the U.S. Davis Cup World Group Playoff with Colombia.

And it worked. Teaming with John Isner, the duo beat Robert Farah and Carlos Salamanca of Colombia, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3, on Saturday to give the United States a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup World Group playoff in Bogotá.

“I just went out and gave my best,” said Farah to reporters in Bogota. “Unfortunately, it was not good enough. They (Fish and Isner) played just too good today. I always knew that Mardy Fish is a great doubles player, but I was surprised just how hard John Isner served. I mean there was some balls that I could not even see. Except for losing, I really enjoyed the experience. The environment was just magical.”

McEnroe took a big risk by leaving the Bryan Brothers off the Davis Cup team. The World No. 1 Doubles team did not make the trip because of the high altitude of Bogota, which is at about 8700 feet.

“The altitude had a lot to do with it (absence of Bryans),” McEnroe said to reporters. “I felt that we might need a couple of extra singles players. Fortunately, Mardy gives us choices as a great singles and doubles player.”

With the win today, the United States needs one win in reverse singles tomorrow to avoid relegation and stay in the World Group.

Fish will go again for the U.S. facing Santiago Giraldo. In the second match, Sam Querrey — or Isner, if the United States captain, Patrick McEnroe, makes a change — will face Alejandro Falla.

Asked if he would be tired Sunday, Fish replied: “Not at all. This is what we train for. That’s why we got here early.”

If Fish wins his match Sunday, it would be the first time an American won three times in a Davis Cup contest since Pete Sampras in 1995.

WORLD GROUP SEMIFINALS

FRANCE defeated ARGENTINA 3-0
Venue: Palais des Sports de Gerland, Lyon , France (hard – indoors)

Michael Llodra (FRA) d. Juan Monaco (ARG) 75 46 75 63
Gael Monfils (FRA) d. David Nalbandian (ARG) 64 26 64 63
Arnaud Clement/Michael Llodra (FRA) d. Eduardo Schwank/Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 64 75 63
Gael Monfils (FRA) v Juan Monaco (ARG)
Michael Llodra (FRA) v David Nalbandian (ARG)

CZECH REPUBLIC leads SERBIA 2-1
Venue: Belgrade Arena, Belgrade , Serbia (hard – indoors)

Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Viktor Troicki (SRB) 46 62 64 64
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) d. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 75 62 26 76(5)
Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Novak Djokovic/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) 36 61 64 61
Viktor Troicki (SRB) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Janko Tiparevic (SRB) v Radek Stepanek (CZE)

WORLD GROUP PLAY-OFFS

COLOMBIA level with USA 1-1
Venue: Plaza de Toros La Santamaria, Bogota , Colombia (clay – outdoors)

Mardy Fish ( USA ) d. Alejandro Falla ( COL ) 46 61 64 36 64
Santiago Giraldo ( COL ) d. Sam Querrey ( USA ) 62 64 75
Robert Farah/Carlos Salamanca (COL) v Mardy Fish/John Isner (USA)
Santiago Giraldo (COL) v Mardy Fish (USA)
Alejandro Falla (COL) v Sam Querrey (USA)

* ISRAEL leads AUSTRIA 2-1
Venue: Nokia Stadium, Tel Aviv , Israel (hard – indoors)

Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) 64 61 63
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Harel Levy (ISR) 64 63 63
Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) d. Jurgen Melzer/Alexander Peya (AUT) 76(2) 64 64
Dudi Sela (ISR) v Jurgen Melzer (AUT)
Harel Levy (ISR) v v Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT)

* being played 16, 17, 19 September

GERMANY defeated SOUTH AFRICA 3-0
Venue: TC Weissenhof Stuttgart, Stuttgart , Germany (clay – outdoors)

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) d. Rik de Voest (RSA) 64 64 64
Florian Mayer (GER) d. Izak van der Merwe (RSA) 63 36 61 76(6)
Andreas Beck/Christopher Kas (GER) d. Rik de Voest/Wesley Moodie (RSA) 64 36 63 64
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v Izak van der Merwe (RSA)
Florian Mayer (GER) v Rik de Voest (RSA)

SWEDEN leads ITALY 2-1
Venue: Sparbanken Lidkoping Arena, Lidkoping, Sweden (hard – indoors)

Potito Starace (ITA) d. Andreas Vinciguerra (SWE) 62 62 62
Robin Soderling (SWE) d. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 61 63 62
Simon Aspelin/Robert Lindstedt (SWE) d. Simone Bolelli/Potito Starace (ITA) 57 67(0) 76(4) 63 75
Robin Soderling (SWE) v Potito Starace (ITA)
Andreas Vinciguerra (SWE) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)

BRAZIL leads INDIA 2-1
Venue: SDAT Tennis Stadium, Chennai , India (hard – outdoors)

Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. Rohan Bopanna ( IND ) 67(2) 76(7) 75 46 108
Ricardo Mello (BRA) d. Somdev Devvarman ( IND ) 46 62 67(3) 62 64
Mahesh Bhupathi/Leander Paes ( IND ) d. Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA) 64 76(5) 61
Somdev Devvarman (IND) v Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)
Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Ricardo Mello (BRA)

AUSTRALIA leads BELGIUM 2-1
Venue: Cairns Regional Tennis Centre, Cairns , Australia (hard – outdoors)

Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) 76(4) 75 26 64
Olivier Rochus (BEL) d. Carsten Ball (AUS) 64 64 76(5)
Paul Hanley/Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Ruben Bemelmans/Olivier Rochus (BEL) 61 62 64
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v Olivier Rochus (BEL)
Carsten Ball (AUS) v Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)

KAZAKHSTAN defeated SWITZERLAND 3-0
Venue: The National Tennis Centre, Astana, Kazakhstan (hard – indoors)

Andrey Golubev (KAZ) d. Marco Chiudinelli (SUI) 64 64 64
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 36 61 64 16 63
Andrey Golubev/Yuriy Schukin (KAZ) d. Yves Allegro/Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 64 63 63
Andrey Golubev (KAZ) v Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) v Marco Chiudinelli (SUI)

ROMANIA defeated ECUADOR 3-0
Venue: Centrul National de Tenis, Bucharest, Romania (clay – outdoors)

Victor Hanescu (ROU) d. Ivan Endara (ECU) 62 62 62
Adrian Ungur (ROU) d. Giovanni Lapentti (ECU) 67(2) 46 63 64 61
Victor Hanescu/Horia Tecau (ROU) d. Ivan Endara/Giovanni Lapentti (ECU) 62 62 62
Victor Hanescu (ROU) v Giovanni Lapentti (ECU)
Adrian Ungur (ROU) v Ivan Endara (ECU)

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND PLAY-OFFS

SLOVAK REPUBLIC leads BELARUS 2-1
Venue: Republic Olympic Training Center for Tennis, Minsk, Belarus (hard – outdoors)

Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR) d. Martin Klizan (SVK) 76(9) 62 62
Lukas Lacko (SVK) d. Siarhei Betau (BLR) 60 64 64
Michael Mertinak/Filip Polasek (SVK) d. Uladzimir Ignatik/Max Mirnyi (BLR) 76(5) 76(6) 36 46 64
Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR) v Lukas Lacko (SVK)
Siarhei Betau (BLR) v Martin Klizan (SVK)

POLAND leads LATVIA 2-1
Venue: Olympic Sports Centre, Riga, Latvia (carpet – indoors)

Michal Przysiezny (POL) d. Andis Juska (LAT) 63 64 64
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 64 64 36 62
Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski (POL) d. Andis Juska/Deniss Pavlovs (LAT) 63 64 76(4)
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) v Michael Przysieszny (POL)
Andis Juska (LAT) v Jerzy Janowicz (POL)

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND PLAY-OFF

CANADA leads DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 2-0
Venue: Rexall Centre – Grandstand Court, Toronto, Canada (hard – outdoors)

Peter Polansky (CAN) d. Jhonson Garcia (DOM) 76(4) 46 63 63
Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Victor Estrella (DOM) 57 62 36 76(3) 97
Frank Dancevic/Daniel Nestor (CAN) v Victor Estrella/Jhonson Garcia (DOM)
Peter Polansky (CAN) v Victor Estrella (DOM)
Milos Raonic (CAN) v Jhonson Garcia (DOM)

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND PLAY-OFF

KOREA, REP. leads PHILIPPINES 2-1
Venue: Chanwon Municipal Tennis Courts, Changwon , Korea , Rep. (hard – outdoors)

Yong-Kyu Lim (KOR) d. Treat Huey (PHI) 67(8) 62 76(7) 76(4)
Suk-Young Jeong (KOR) d. Cecil Mamiit (PHI) 06 16 63 60 62
Cecil Mamiit / Treat Huey (PHI) d. Hyun-Joon Kim/Jae-Min Seol (KOR) 63 64 64
Yong-Kyu Lim (KOR) v Cecil Mamiit (PHI)
Suk-Young Jeong (KOR) v Treat Huey (PHI)

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP II THIRD ROUND

LITHUANIA leads SLOVENIA 2-1
Venue: SEB Arena, Vilnius , Lithuania (hard – indoors)

Richard Berankis (LTU) d. Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 36 62 76(9) 64
Grega Zemlja (SLO) d. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 63 76(4) 63
Richard Berankis/Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) d. Grega Zemla/Luka Gregorc (SLO) 57 46 61 63 63
Richard Berankis (LTU) v Grega Zemlja (SLO)
Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) v Blaz Kavcic (SLO)

PORTUGAL level with BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA 1-1
Venue: Centro de Tenis Do Jamor, Cruz Quebrada, Portugal (clay – outdoors)

Frederico Gil (POR) d. Amer Delic (BIH) 63 64 67(14) 36 97
Aldin Setkic (BIH) d. Rui Machado (POR) 64 63 16 61
Frederico Gil/Leonardo Tavares (POR) v Amer Delic/Aldin Setkic (BIH)
Frederico Gil (POR) v Aldin Setkic (BIH)
Rui Machado (POR) v Amer Delic (BIH)

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP II FINAL

MEXICO leads VENEZUELA 2-0
Venue: Rafael El Pelon Osuna, Delg. Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico (clay – outdoors)

Daniel Garza (MEX) d. Roman Recarte (VEN) 62 62 62
Cesar Ramirez (MEX) d. Jose De Armas (VEN) 61 63 63
Bruno Rodriguez/Miguel Angel Reyes Varela (MEX) v Jose De Armas/Piero Luisi (VEN)
Daniel Garza (MEX) v Jose De Armas (VEN)
Cesar Ramirez (MEX) v Roman Recarte (VEN)

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP II FINAL

NEW ZEALAND leads THAILAND 2-1
Venue: National Tennis Development Centre (LTAT), Nontheburi , Thailand (hard – outdoors)

Michael Venus (NZL) d. Weerapat Doakmaiklee (THA) 63 62 76(1)
Jose Statham (NZL) d. Kittiphong Wachiramanowong (THA) 46 76(5) 61 76(2)
Sanchai Ratiwatana/Sonchat Ratiwatana (THA) d. Daniel King-Turner/Michael Venus (NZL) 06 67(6) 60 63 64
Kittiphong Wachiramanowong (THA) v Michael Venus (NZL)
Weerapat Doakmaiklee (THA) v Jose Statham (NZL)

Fish and Querrey Split Against Colombia

Patrick McEnroe wanted to make a statement with this Davis Cup team. Instead of going with the veterans, who have helped him over the past 10 years, he decided to make his swan song with youth by taking Ryan Harrison, John Isner, and Sam Querrey with him to Bogota.

Yet, it was the old man of the team in Mardy Fish who save the United States in their Davis Cup match against Colombia.

The 28 year-old Fish, who has made a tremendous comeback this year, pulled out a five set thriller over Alejandro Falla 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the best-of-five.

And it came in handy, because Querrey was not able to pull off the sweep, being downed Santiago Giraldo, 2-6 4-6 7-5.

“We’ve been in this situation before a few times — in a relegation match at 1-1 going into doubles,” McEnroe said to reporters in Bogota. “I feel good about our doubles. We have three players who have played together so there are a lot of options. I like that we have three or four players available tomorrow and Sunday.”

Both Fish and Querrey seemed to have problems adjusting to the altitude. At an estimated 8700 feet, it is the highest elevation either player has played. And McEnroe believes the higher elevation was the reason both players dropped the first set of their respective matches.

“The first set of both matches was pretty rough for us,” McEnroe said. “We practiced well all week, but you can’t simulate match conditions. Moving forward I think we’re in good shape now that the guys have gotten a match under their belts at the altitude.”

Querrey also said he was caught off guard during his match.

“I wasn’t surprised how well he (Giraldo) played,” Querrey said. “I have seen him play before and he hits the ball low and flat which is perfect for these conditions. It is difficult to adjust to the altitude.”

Fish, though, was able to adjust to the heights and even took the send and third sets in the match, but couldn’t close it out in the fourth. It took a veteran’s fifth set for Fish to pull out the match.

“The key was staying ahead in the fifth set,” Fish said. “I had some tough games to hold but was always able to stay ahead of him. When he (Falla) had to serve to stay into it at 5-4, that’s when all the pressure kicked in.”

It was also difficult to get adjusted to the surface. After two months on the hard courts, this series will be played on red clay, something most of the Americans consider their worst surface.

“He (Falla) hits the ball flat and I think he would have preferred a hard court,” Fish said. “We both would have preferred to play on a hard court. Maybe the tennis would be a little bit better.”

Tomorrow it may be as doubles take place. Colombia is expected to field the team of Robert Farah and Carlos Salamanca. The Americans have announced they will counter with Ryan Harrison and John Isner, although Fish said to reporters after his singles victory that he would be ready to step in.

Reverse singles are Sunday.

If the U.S. loses this quarterfinal, then it will be eliminated from Davis Cup play in 2011, only the second time in the country’s history.

Fish Leads Off US Davis Cup Action

Mardy Fish makes his return to Davis Cup action tomorrow as a pivotal player in the United States’ quest to return to the World Group. Fish opens against Alejandro Falla in the first match of the Davis Cup World Group Playoff against host Colombia on the red clay of the Plaza de Toros La Santamaria in Bogota.

It is a critical tie for the USA, which must win to avoid relegation. If the USA loses, next year will mark the first time since 1988 that it is ineligible to play for the Davis Cup championship.

The 19th-ranked Fish and Falla have split two prior meeting, both on hard court in 2008.

Sam Querrey will play Santiago Giraldo in Friday’s second singles match. Itis the first first match between the 21st-ranked Querrey and World No. 61 Giraldo, who is playing in his hometown.

The tie marks a beginning and an end for American tennis.

Patrick McEnroe will lead the U.S. in his last match as captain.  McEnroe has been the United States Davis Cup coach since 2000 and led the team to its record-extending 32nd Davis Cup title in 2007.

Ryan Harrison, who knocked off Ivan Ljubicic at the US Open, makes his Davis Cup debut on Saturday, partnering with John Isner in the doubles against Robert Farah/Carlos Salamanca.

McEnroe opted against selecting US Open champions Bob and Mike Bryan for the tie, citing the high altitude in Bogota in preferring to pick four players who can play singles and doubles.

It is the first time since 2005, and just the fifth time since the World Group was instituted in 1981, that the U.S. has had to compete in the play-off round.

The U.S. is 3-1 in World Group Playoffs, having defeated Belgium on red clay in its last appearance in the World Group Playoff.

The World Group Playoff against Belgium in 2005 was the first of 10 consecutive U.S. Davis Cup ties that featured the lineup of Andy Roddick, James Blake and the doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, shattering the previous U.S. record for most consecutive ties with the same lineup. The previous record was three consecutive ties by eight different combinations.

In Sunday’s reverse singles, Fish plays Giraldo and Querrey closes the best-of-five match tie against Falla.

WORLD GROUP PLAY-OFFS

COLOMBIA v USA
Venue: Plaza de Toros La Santamaria, Bogota, Colombia (clay – outdoors)

Mardy Fish (USA) v Alejandro Falla (COL)
Sam Querrey (USA) v Santiago Giraldo (COL)
Ryan Harrison/John Isner (USA) v Robert Farah/Carlos Salamanca (COL)
Mardy Fish (USA) v Santiago Giraldo (COL)
Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Alejandro Falla (COL)

Richard Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Patrick McEnroe Steps Down As Davis Cup Coach

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., September 6, 2010 – The USTA and Patrick McEnroe announced today that McEnroe will resign as U.S. Davis Cup captain immediately following the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Play-off against Colombia in Bogota, September 17-19.  Now in his 10th year as captain, McEnroe is the longest-tenured captain in U.S. Davis Cup history.  He led the U.S. to its record 32nd Davis Cup title in 2007, its first title since 1995 — ending the longest drought in U.S. Davis Cup history.  He has compiled a 16-9 record thus far; his 16 victories are second all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history behind Tom Gorman’s 18 wins.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am resigning as Davis Cup captain, but it is a decision I felt was best for the team and myself right now,” McEnroe said.  “Davis Cup is a significant time commitment and this decision will allow me to focus more energy on my family and to the USTA Player Development program”

“Patrick is the one the finest and most decorated captains in U.S. Davis Cup history,“ said Lucy S. Garvin, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA.  “He leaves an indelible mark on the Davis Cup, and has always handled his captaincy with class and distinction.  Patrick is and will remain a tremendous asset to U.S. tennis as he continues to lead our player development efforts.”

The U.S. will face Colombia in the World Group Play-off next week.  It is the first time since 2005, and just the fifth time since the World Group was instituted in 1981, that the U.S. has had to compete in the play-off round.  The U.S. is 3-1 in World Group Play-offs, having defeated Belgium on red clay in its last appearance in the World Group Play-off.

“Patrick changed the culture of Davis Cup in the United States, creating a true team environment and a sense of camaraderie that the U.S. has never before seen,” said Jim Curley, Chief Professional Tournaments Officer, USTA.  “He has been a champion of the competition in every sense of the word, and elevated the stature of the event in this country.”

The World Group Play-off against Belgium in 2005 was the first of 10 consecutive U.S. Davis Cup ties that featured the lineup of Andy Roddick, James Blake and the doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, shattering the previous U.S. record for most consecutive ties with the same lineup.  The previous record was three consecutive ties by eight different combinations.

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The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game.  A not-for-profit organization with nearly 750,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and through tennis, helps underserved youth and people with disabilities to improve academics, build character and strive for excellence. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.