Dreams of victory for US team
from the davis cup newsletter
The American Davis Cup squad’s elder statesman, Todd Martin, perhaps said it best. The 32 year old from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, almost a decade older than the rest of the American squad, said in a press conference on Monday, “I feel very excited about being at Roland Garros, my favourite place in the world to play tennis. To represent my country here is a dream never had but it’s come true.”
Martin’s sentiments were echoed by his captain, Patrick McEnroe, and teammates, Andy Roddick and James Blake after the team completed its third practice yesterday on the famed terre battue of Roland Garros.
“They have the best claycourts in the world here,” said Roddick. “It’s a pleasure to play here.” “As soon as we defeated Spain, the team was asking if they would get the opportunity to play France here at Roland Garros,” said McEnroe. “It’s thrilling to be a player here, to see how much respect the players have for this place,” said Blake.
McEnroe said that his team was getting used to the clay but that the team was feeling “very good.” He refused to be drawn when asked who would win the tie, saying, “Every match is a winnable match. There is no clear favourite. Getting off to a good start is important.”
McEnroe, who praised the talents of his opponents, was also very complimentary about his players. “Todd had some time off and is in good shape after some practice in Florida. Mardy Fish is getting better all the time. Same with James and Andy. They are improving all the time. We are very hopeful for the future.”
“The French team is versatile and so is our team,” continued McEnroe. “Each team will think they have a chance to win.”
Asked individually about the absence of the American top two, each member of the team said that they would not comment but noted that they themselves were proud to be there. “The great thing is that every person on this team wants to be here,” said Roddick. “This is a priority for everybody on our team.”
“It’s the most important thing in a tennis player’s career,” said Blake. “Something I can believe in. You get a high playing for your country and I love being part of a team.”
“It’s a no brainer,” added Blake. “Four weeks out of my year I want to be out there playing. I always dreamed of playing Davis Cup for my country, especially with a great captain like Patrick.”