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Davis Cup: U.S.-Russia Final Sneak Peek

May 25, 2008 01:28 PM

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By Jason Brown, USTA.com

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN – Fresh off their rousing 4-1 victory over Sweden, the United States Tennis Association and the U.S. Davis Cup Team announced that the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon will host the 2007 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final.

Having not hosted a final since 1992 when the United States defeated Switzerland, 3-1, at the Tarrant Country Center in Fort Worth, Texas, the team is understandably thrilled about the prospect.

“It's something that I know we as a team have been dreaming of for a while, having a home final,” said team leader Roddick. “I think we're all just really excited about the opportunity.”

“Everybody's pretty excited about it,” agreed U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe.

“The opportunity to play a final at home, we've never had that chance as a team. I think we played one other semifinal at home in all these years. So to get the final at home certainly is a big plus for us. Russia's obviously a great team. They have a lot of good players that can play on different surfaces. We'll try to play to our strength.”

As the host nation, the United States controls not only the site of the tie for the final – to be held the weekend after Thanksgiving, November 30 through December 2 – but the playing surface as well.

McEnroe will confer with his players and select the surface which best suits the teams’ strengths.

“It will be on a relatively quick court,” said McEnroe. “We have just haven't decidedly exactly what it will be or where it will be. We know there's a couple options. But court wise we make the decision, me and the players, on what the actual court will be, what they want it to be, and then I do the best I can to make sure it's right.”

For his part, Roddick feels that a well-paced hard court would be the best option.

“I'm sure Patrick will talk to us about our preferences,” said Roddick. “I can promise you it will not be on anything other than a hard court or some sort of hard surface. I think it's a pretty straightforward decision for our captain. I'm sure he'll check with us. But ultimately the decision lies with Patrick, and that's why he's the captain.”

While grass might be considered to be Russia’s biggest weakness among the possible surface choices, the time of the year that the final will be staged, during the winter season, prohibits the U.S. from considering it.

“It's tough to make grass grow indoors in December in the States,” said Roddick, a two-time Wimbledon finalist.

“I promise you, any grass court that's put in indoors in December would be a piece of crap. It's tough to make a makeshift grass court. They're not very good at all. We'll take our chances with our surface, I think.”

Having not captured the Davis Cup since beating Russia in Moscow’s Olympic Stadium in 1995, this year represents a golden opportunity that the current roster looks forward to trying to achieve.

“I enjoy the journey with these guys because they're so committed and they're so easy to be around and they love playing, they love playing for their country,” said McEnroe.

“But obviously the goal is always to try to win. To watch these guys accomplish what they've done, continue to get better, and most importantly do it as a team, would be an incredible accomplishment for all of us.”



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