U.S. - AUSTRALIA KEEPS INTRIGUE AT
DAVIS CUP QUARTERFINAL
Pat Mitsch | April 4, 2017
For a Davis Cup rivalry that dates back to 1905, the United States vs. Australia remains fresh with intrigue ahead of the countries’ 47th meeting – a World Group Quarterfinal tie April 7-9 at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane.
Each team’s players and captain spoke Tuesday on the upcoming matchup, which pits No. 15 Jack Sock, No. 23 John Isner, No. 25 Sam Querrey and No. 29 Steve Johnson of the U.S. against No. 16 Nick Kyrgios, No. 79 Jordan Thompson, No. 198 Sam Groth and doubles No. 2 John Peers of Australia on an indoor hard court.
Though the U.S. and Australia met just last year – a 3-1 victory for the Americans in a first-round tie on grass at Kooyong Tennis Club in Melbourne – little from that tie is likely to repeat itself this weekend.
“I think last year was different – different team for us, different team for them, on a different surface,” said Isner, who won both of his singles matches and clinched victory for the Americans on the grass courts at Kooyong. ADVERTISEMENT “I think this tie is brand new.”
The American team, of course, no longer features doubles stalwarts Bob and Mike Bryan, who retired from Davis Cup competition at the end of 2016. This U.S. team to face Australia features four players ranked in the Top 30 in singles – the first time that has happened since the 1992 Davis Cup Final, when the U.S. defeated Switzerland with No. 1 Jim Courier, No. 3 Pete Sampras, No. 9 Andre Agassi and No. 20 John McEnroe – giving now-U.S. Captain Courier a menu of strong singles and doubles possibilities.
“I think we have a different team atmosphere now,” said Courier. “We miss Bob and Mike Bryan, one of the greatest doubles teams that we’ll ever be lucky enough to have play for the U.S., if not the greatest. This team has a different energy, because we have four guys that can play every single aspect, and there’s a lot more to what this group brings to the table – a little less 'silo’d,' if you will – than having Bob and Mike with us. It’s exciting to have the options, for sure, and the chemistry … these guys have fun. And that’s good for a squad to come out, feed off each other and have some good energy.”
The Aussies, meanwhile, feature the talented and enigmatic Nick Kyrgios, who sat out last year’s tie with an illness. Kyrgios is coming off a two-month run in which he beat Novak Djokovic twice and pushed Roger Federer in a 6-7(9), 7-6(9), 6-7(5) loss in the Miami Open semifinals.
“He’s a very good player,” Sock said. “He’s having a good year, and played well the last couple weeks. Obviously, last week had a great match with Roger. If he’s on, he’s a very tough player to play.”
Though the Australians are without No. 44 Bernard Tomic, and will likely nominate Thompson as their No. 2 singles player, Courier expects another exciting weekend of tennis Down Under.
“We got five tough matches in front of us. Obviously we know Nick’s coming in on a high note, playing really well. Jordan had a good Aussie summer down here, too, obviously. They’ve got some momentum on the doubles side, too. John has been playing really well, and they had a good win in the First Round. We expect five tough matches. We’re here, ready to battle. We know they’re ready to battle, too, but we had a fun time last year battling with them at Kooyong. It’s another opportunity here at Rafter Arena. We’re ready.”