Countries confirm locations/surfaces for 2004 DC
U.S. To Host Davis Cup Tie At Mohegan Sun
By Richard Pagliaro TENNIS WEEK
American stars will seek to shine on the Sun next year. United States Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe and the USTA are expected to announce the U.S. Davis Cup team will host Austria in an opening-round Davis Cup tie at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, February 6-8th.
A press conference has been scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Casino when USTA officials will make the announcement. McEnroe is scheduled to join Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Jodi Rell and Mark Brown, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe, to make the formal announcement.
The United States and Austria have met in Davis Cup on only one previous occasion, with the United States defeating Austria 3-2 in the semifinals of the 1990 Davis Cup in Vienna, Austria. American Michael Chang starred for the U.S. against Austria, fighting back from a two-set deficit to defeat Horst Skoff 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in the decisive match, which spanned two days. Chang's effort was the first time an American came back from two-sets-to-love in the decisive fifth rubber of a Davis Cup match since Hall of Famer Don Budge defeated Gottfried Von Cramm of Germany in 1937. Tennis Week writer Steve Flink cited Budge's 6-8, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 8-6 triumph as one of the greatest matches played in his book, The Greatest Tennis Matches Of The Twentieth Century.
Austria is led by 53rd-ranked Stefan Koubek and 79th-ranked Jurgen Melzer. Austria beat Belgium 3-2 in Portschach, Austria in September's Davis Cup World Group Playoff to qualify for February's first-round tie.
The United States advanced to the first-round tie with a 3-2 triumph over the host Slovak Republic in a September tie staged on red clay in Bratislava. Mardy Fish's inspired 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-1 over Karol Kucera on the opening-day of play evened that tie at 1-1. In their Davis Cup debut, the Bryan brothers staked the U.S. to a 2-1 lead and reigning U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick clinched the victory in the opening reverse singles match.
The indoor court the United States will select for the tie against Austria should benefit the big serves of Roddick and Fish and give the Americans an advantage over Austria. The top-ranked Roddick, who has never played Melzer, has not surrendered a set in winning all three of his matches with Koubek. Melzer was a 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 victor over Fish on red clay in the Houston quarterfinals earlier this year in their lone meeting. Fish has not faced Koubek.
Should the Americans beat Austria they would travel to Australia to face the defending Davis Cup champions or host Sweden in the Davis Cup quarterfinals, set for April 9-11th.
Two years ago, the U.S. advanced to the Davis Cup final four, falling to France at Roland Garros. In February, a talented cast of young Americans that may well include Roddick, Fish, the Bryan brothers and/or James Blake, Taylor Dent and Robby Ginepri will begin its quest for its 31st Davis Cup championship.
"I think Andy, James, Taylor, myself and the Bryans are all going to try to play Davis Cup every single time it comes around regardless of wherever it is," Fish told Tennis Week last month. "Obviously, it can be a scheduling conflict when we have to play in Slovakia on clay right after the U.S. Open, but I mean that's the sacrifice you're going to have to make. And obviously it's a sacrifice definitely worth taking — going anywhere to play Davis Cup for your country is something that's really very special. I don't care where it is or when it is, I'm going to go play Davis Cup every time they ask me."
Davis Cup 2004 First Round Venues Confirmed
Australian fans may still be living in the euphoria of their country's magnificent victory in the 2003 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, but their Aussie heroes have already turned their focus to next year’s competition. As the anticipation begins to build for next year's World Group first round ties on 6-8 February, the eight host nations have submitted their choices of venue to the ITF for approval.
Australia begins its defence of the Cup with a home tie against Sweden on a rebound ace surface at Adelaide's Memorial Drive in South Australia. The venue has been used in previous ties by Australia, the most recent being the 2002 World Group play-off against India and the 2000 quarterfinal against Germany. On both occasions Australia was successful, defeating India 5-0 on hard court and Germany 3-2 on grass. Australia also has a good record against Sweden, winning their last two meetings. The most recent came in the 2003 quarterfinals in Malmo, Sweden, in April, when Hewitt, Woodbridge, Arthurs and Philippoussis won 5-0.
Defeated finalist Spain faces an away trip against the Czech Republic in Brno on an a carpet surface. The two nations have a 2-2 head-to-head record, having last met in 1972.
France, ranked No. 2 behind Australia on the year-end ITF Davis Cup Nations Ranking, will host a home tie in Metz against Croatia. Not surprisingly the French have chosen their favourite surface of red clay for their first tie ever against Croatia.
The Netherlands will be looking to overcome Canada for the first time as they do battle on an indoor red clay court in Maastricht, chosen by the Netherlands as the venue for their third meeting.
Switzerland will travel to Bucharest in Romania to face the home side on red clay, while 2002 champion Russia will travel to Minsk to face Belarus for the first time on carpet. Morocco will host Argentina in Agadir and have chosen a Greenset hard court as their surface.