Sampras, understandable. Agassi
U.S team to field Roddick, Blake, Martin, Fish
NEW YORK -- The all-American U.S. Open final between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi took enough out of both players to keep them off the Davis Cup team.
Sampras beat Agassi to win the U.S. Open on Sunday, and told team captain Patrick McEnroe a day later that he wasn't ready to play in next weekend's Davis Cup semifinal match against France in Paris.
"I think Pete needs time to digest what happened and decide what he wants to do," McEnroe said Tuesday. "I think he's just worn out, and I certainly understand that."
Once the United States' top two players passed on the chance, McEnroe chose Andy Roddick, James Blake, Todd Martin and Mardy Fish to play France on the clay at Roland Garros, home of the French Open.
Roddick and Blake will play singles, and there is a good chance that Blake and Martin will comprise the doubles team. That pair beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi, the U.S. Open doubles champions, to win the ATP Tour's event in Cincinnati last month.
Sampras eliminated Roddick in the U.S. Open quarterfinals en route to his first singles title since winning Wimbledon in 2000.
"It's time for the younger guys to take the baton and run with it," said McEnroe, whose term as captain was extended by two years on Tuesday. "This is a big step, we're relying on them."
Agassi had previously decided that he wasn't going to play, but McEnroe held out hope that he would change his mind.
"I really want the guys who want to be there," McEnroe said. "I've seen too many situations in Davis Cup when the so-called best players were there and didn't want to be there for whatever reason. And that never works."
McEnroe said that had Agassi won the U.S. Open, he thinks Agassi's Davis Cup decision might have changed.
"I think Andre was devastated with his loss," McEnroe said. "Andre has said all along he is not going to play Davis Cup. I wasn't surprised that he declined."
Sampras, who has won a record 14 Grand Slam singles titles, has never advanced past the semifinals on the red clay of Roland Garros, losing in the first round this year.
McEnroe noted that, saying that having Sampras on the team didn't guarantee a U.S. victory.
"I had a conversation with Pete that was very honest and very straightforward," McEnroe said. "When he told me that he's exhausted and having lots of emotions, that was pretty much the answer."
Sebastien Grosjean, Arnaud Clement, Fabrice Santoro and Michael Llodra were chosen last week to represent defending champion France in the semifinal, scheduled for Sept. 20-22.
The United States and France have met 13 times in Davis Cup play, with the Americans holding a 7-6 advantage.
The last match between France and the United States at Roland Garros was the 1932 final, which France won 3-2. France hasn't played there since 1982, when it defeated Czechoslovakia in a quarterfinal.
"I think our chances are excellent," McEnroe said. "Obviously, playing in Paris will be difficult, but we're looking forward to it. The guys really wanted to play at Roland Garros."