Full-strength Team USA
Preps for Belgium Davis Cup test
Arthur Kapetanakis | April 4, 2018
Captain Jim Courier has a full complement of top talent at his disposal as he prepares to lead the U.S. Davis Cup team against 2017 finalists Belgium this weekend.
Both squads have arrived at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., ahead of the World Group quarterfinal tie that will get underway with singles play on Friday, April 6.
A healthy No. 16-ranked Jack Sock, who was absent from the Americans' February win over Serbia, gives Team USA three Top 20 players, including No. 9 John Isner, fresh off his first career Masters 1000 title in Miami, and No. 14 Sam Querrey.
They are joined on the squad by No. 52 Steve Johnson and No. 54 Ryan Harrison.
"We're lucky. I'm lucky as the captain, and American tennis fans are lucky that we have so many great options. All the players are passionate and want to be here."ADVERTISEMENT
Though all five players will likely not see the court for competitive play, that has not dampened the enthusiasm of the group.
"They still want to be here, to be a part of it, because we're trying to win the whole competition this year."
On the injury front, it is a different story for the Belgian team, which will be without mainstays David Goffin and Steve Darcis. Instead, representing Belgium will be: No. 110 Ruben Bemelmans and No. 319 Joris de Loore, who will likely play singles both Friday and Sunday, and doubles specialists Sander Gille, ranked No. 84, and Joran Vliegen, ranked No. 98, who should see action Saturday in the doubles rubber.
Still, Courier is not taking the Belgian team lightly.
"Obviously, their captain, Johan Van Herck, is very experienced. He'll play his cards close to his vest," the American captain said. "We'll be ready for whatever they throw at us."
In addition to the competitive action, Tuesday's Net Generation event gave Courier and his charges a chance to interact with local kids at Belmont University's Curb Event Center, providing a welcome diversion from the intensity of the team's prep work.
"This little girl, a left-hander, almost knocked me down with a forehand," Courier joked. "I was at the net minding my own business. There are some really good, young, talented players that love the game."
Courier and the Americans hope to still be smiling at the conclusion of the tie this Sunday. Play begins at 4 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET) on Friday, April 6, and Saturday, April 7, and at 2 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) on Sunday, April 8.
Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the World Group quarterfinal.