U.S. to play Switzerland in 2017
Davis Cup first round
Ashley Marshall | September 22, 2016
Team USA will begin its bid for a record 33rd Davis Cup with a home tie against Switzerland in the opening round of the 2017 World Group.
The first round takes place Feb. 3-5, and as the host nation for this tie, the U.S. will get to pick the venue and the playing surface. Captains do not need to announce their teams until closer to the tie, which begins just five days after the Australian Open men's final.
The U.S., which owns a 216-70 overall Davis Cup record and 111-19 mark on home soil, holds a lifetime 3-1 edge over Switzerland, including a perfect 2-0 record at home.
The USTA is now asking cities to submit bids to host the tie. ITF regulations say the U.S. should announce the location no later than mid-November.
The Americans and the Swiss last played in 2012, also in the first round of the World Group, on an indoor red clay court in Fribourg, Switzerland. ADVERTISEMENT On that occasion, the U.S. swept their way into the quarterfinals.
Mardy Fish toppled Stan Wawrinka in a 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 9-7 instant classic and John Isner followed his lead by ralliying to a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 win over Roger Federer. Mike Bryan and Fish then teamed up to beat the Swiss duo of Federer and Wawrinka in four sets to seal the victory. Ryan Harrison beat Michael Lammer and Isner defeated Marco Chiudinelli in a pair of dead rubbers on the final day of play.
The venue alternates each time the coutries meet. Since the last tie between the two nations was contested in Switzerland, the U.S. gets to select the location of this 2017 tie.
The most recent time the U.S. hosted the Swiss was in 2009 when the team of James Blake, Andy Roddick and the Bryan brothers defeated Switzerland, 4-1, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena in Birmingham, Ala.
Prior to that, Switzerland beat the U.S. in Basel in 2001 – Federer won three matches – but the U.S. was victorious when the nations contested the 1992 final in Texas, as Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Jim Courier helped the Tom Gorman-captained team to its 30th Davis Cup title and second in three years.
During Thursday morning's draw at the ITF headquarters in London, the U.S. was placed in the top half of the 16-team bracket alongside top seeds and 2016 finalists Argentina, No. 4 seeds the Czech Republic and No. 7 seeds Belgium. Switzerland is seeded fifth.
The winner of February’s tie between the U.S. and Switzerland will play either the Czech Republic or Australia in the quarterfinals. The last time the U.S. played the Czech Republic, it was on the road in Ostrava in 2007, meaning the U.S. would host that quarterfinal April 7-9, should it advance. If the U.S. plays Australia, it will be held in Australia, but the U.S. would choose the surface after an oversight in 2016 saw the first-round match played on grass when it should have been played on a hard court.
The U.S. has opted to play nine of its past 10 home ties on hard courts, choosing clay when it hosted Great Britain at Petco Park in San Diego in 2014. The U.S. last hosted a home Davis Cup tie on grass in 2006, when it defeated Chile in the World Group quarterfinals at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
The U.S. has won more Davis Cup titles and Davis Cup ties (216) than any other country and was last in Davis Cup action in July when it lost a quarterfinal tie against Croatia in Portland, Ore., 3-2.
The current top-ranked players for the U.S. include Top 30 players Steve Johnson, Jack Sock, Isner and Sam Querrey. In addition to Wawrinka and Federer, recent Davis Cup competitors for Switzerland included world No. 142 Henri Laaksonen, Antoine Bellier and Adrien Bossel.