VINCE SPADEA's DIRECT LETTER TO PATRICK MCENROE [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

VINCE SPADEA's DIRECT LETTER TO PATRICK MCENROE

bostontennisplayer
11-12-2004, 02:04 AM
Pat,
I am writing this letter to you to express my desire to represent the U.S. in the upcoming Davis Cup final. As the #19 player in the world and third highest ranked American in the world (behind only Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi), I have earned the opportunity to represent the United States against Spain.

Throughout the year, I have expressed my desire to represent my country in Davis Cup, a privilege I felt I earned earlier in the year with respect to previous Davis Cup matches. For reasons never articulated to me, and despite my solid results throughout the year, you have consistently chosen not to select me to the Davis Cup. Earlier this year, after having won an ATP tour title and reached the semifinals of the Nasdaq 100, you declined to name me to the Davis Cup team for the quarterfinal match against Sweden, as well as the semifinal match against Belarus. In bypassing me in your selection, you stated in a news paper article (which I have enclosed for your convenience) that in order for you to select me to the Davis Cup team, I would have to demonstrate significantly better results or a higher ranking than the younger Americans in contention for Davis Cup play this year.

I have done that this year, and, but for Andy Roddick, I am ranked higher than all of the other American players interested and available to play Davis Cup. On this point, I would like to highlight my record as compared to other young Americans currently in contention for the Davis Cup final (on red clay in Madrid):

2004 ATP entry ranking (as of 11/7/04): Spadea (19), Dent, (32), Fish (37)
2004 year-to-date ATP singles wins: Spadea (40), Dent (32), Fish (28)
Top finishes in ATP European red clay tour events: Spadea (2004 Italian Open
quarterfinals, 2003 Monte Carlo semifinals, 2003 French Open 3rd round), Dent
(2004 Monte Carlo 2nd round, 2004 French Open 1st round), Fish (2003 Italian
Open 2nd round, 2003 French Open 1st round)

I hope and expect that you will honor your word, and my hard work and achievements this year, and name me to the team for the final in Spain. Further, with regards to the integrity of the process, I feel that the Davis Cup selection should be an equitable one in which members are selected based on merit. Other irrelevant and unjust off court factors, such as age or friendships, should have no bearing on the team selections. Having ended the year in the top twenty and ahead of other younger Americans, my performance and ranking this year clearly demonstrate that my age has no bearing on my ability to perform at the highest level of our sport. Further, my record shows that age, unquestionably, should not be a factor in deciding the Davis Cup team. I know that I have earned a playing position on the American team in the upcoming Davis Cup final. I hope that you will make a fair selection and give me the opportunity that I have worked so hard to earn by recognizing my professional achievements this year in a selection to the Davis Cup team.

I appreciate your time and attention to this matter.


Sincerely,
Vince

liptea
11-12-2004, 02:25 AM
Is that serious or do you have too much time on your hands?

Ballbuster
11-12-2004, 02:30 AM
all caps in thread title = banned

Chloe le Bopper
11-12-2004, 02:50 AM
Even if it is fake, it's full of good points.

Too bad Patrick will follow his dick and pick Mardy anyways. I happen to like Mardy much better than Vince, but he shouldn't go over Vince.

LiZpHaIr
11-12-2004, 02:56 AM
What an articulately written letter...Vince should be on the team. Pat would be dumb not to pick him, besides Andre he is probably the best American clay player.

Chloe le Bopper
11-12-2004, 02:57 AM
I don't think that either him or Mardy will win any matches, but that isn't really the point. The point is that Vince clearly deserves to be there over Mardy. And again, whether or not this is a troll is irrelevant to that point ;)

alfonsojose
11-12-2004, 03:18 AM
Vince,

Davis Cup it's about a team. And these young guys know each other pretty well and have reached the finals, showing passion and love for America. Besides, i'm not sure if your ass is as tender and salty as Mardy's :drool:. When i fuck him he doesn't rap, he just screams of pleasure like Tatoom :eek: :ignore: while i enjoy pulling his long blonde hair, not just a grassy getto underbrush

Patrick

liptea
11-12-2004, 03:27 AM
Vince,

Davis Cup it's about a team. And these young guys know each other pretty well and have reached the finals, showing passion and love for America. Besides, i'm not sure if your ass is as tender and salty as Mardy's :drool:. When i fuck him he doesn't rap, he just screams of pleasure like Tatoom :eek: :ignore: while i enjoy pulling his long blonde hair, not just a grassy getto underbrush

Patrick

:hearts: :inlove: :drool: Mardy Fish is a beautiful boy.

In any case, I always thought that the point of Davis Cup was learning to unite tennis players of a certain nation by asking them to voluntarily play for their country. If Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick and the Bryans have worked together, been successful and become friends and exemplary representatives of their home, surely they deserve to continue to the finals together.

If those four have worked together this far, they deserve to reap the benefits of their hard work and dedication.

But Vince can be the cheerleader and rap patriotic tunes. :eek:

sigmagirl91
11-12-2004, 03:44 AM
Vince,

Davis Cup it's about a team. And these young guys know each other pretty well and have reached the finals, showing passion and love for America. Besides, i'm not sure if your ass is as tender and salty as Mardy's :drool:. When i fuck him he doesn't rap, he just screams of pleasure like Tatoom :eek: :ignore: while i enjoy pulling his long blonde hair, not just a grassy getto underbrush

Patrick

:eek: :eek: :haha: :haha:

loner1984
11-12-2004, 04:18 AM
Vince,

Davis Cup it's about a team. And these young guys know each other pretty well and have reached the finals, showing passion and love for America. Besides, i'm not sure if your ass is as tender and salty as Mardy's :drool:. When i fuck him he doesn't rap, he just screams of pleasure like Tatoom :eek: :ignore: while i enjoy pulling his long blonde hair, not just a grassy getto underbrush

Patrick

OMFG!! :haha: :rolls:
Dude you are so f*#4ing hilarious.

Deboogle!.
11-12-2004, 04:43 AM
Pretty interesting stuff. TW talked to PMac before his press conference today... they're supposed to post the whole interview with him tomorrow.
======

Roddick, Fish, Bryan Brothers Selected To U.S. Davis Cup Team

By Richard Pagliaro
11/13/2004

The U.S. Davis Cup championship team enjoyed taste of Spain today. U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe hopes it was an appetizer for a Davis Cup victory his team will try to taste when it takes on host Spain on the red clay court of the Estadio Olympico in Seville, Spain, December 3rd-5th.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Americans reclaiming the Cup, the USTA brought together Hall of Fame players Tony Trabert and Vic Seixas and Ham Richardson who captured the Cup in 1954 against host Australia before a Davis Cup record crowd of 25,578 in White City at the midtown Manhattan's Spanish restaurant Solera.

While the trio of American tennis legends looked on, McEnroe set his sights on the United States' quest to capture its 32nd Davis Cup championship. As expected, the captain has selected the same cast that beat Belarus in September's semifinal — second-ranked Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and twins Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan — to take on Spain.

The Spanish squad is well-suited for the slow surface with a pair of former top-ranked Roland Garros champions in Carlos Moya and Juan Carlos Ferrero forming the foundation for a team that includes talented teen Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo. Spain is seeking its second Davis Cup title in its fifth appearance in the final. Spain defeated Australia 3-1 to win the Davis Cup title in 2000 as Ferrero defeated Lleyton Hewitt to clinch the country's first Davis Cup championship in history. Spain reached the Davis Cup final last year, falling 3-1 to Australia in Melbourne. That tie was played on grass, while the soft red clay that is the surface for this final should serve as a welcome mat for Spanish players.

"Playing against a Spanish team that includes two former world No. 1 players and two French Open champions on a clay court before 15,000 fans is the ultimate challenge and test for our team," McEnroe said. "Nothing would be sweeter and more satisfying than to win the Davis Cup in this environment and our guys are certainly excited about that opportunity that is in front of them."

One player who will not share the excitement is 19th-ranked Vince Spadea, who was bypassed in favor of Fish. Spadea told Tennis Week he would be willing to make the trip to Seville as an alternate, but he probably won't get the chance as McEnroe confirmed he is leading toward choosing Robby Ginepri, the second singles starter in the United States' 5-0 sweep of Austria in February's opening-round, as the alternate on the team should Ginepri's bothersome back hold up.

In an email to Tennis Week yesterday, Spadea stated his case for his inclusion on the squad and criticized the selection process that he asserts is unfair in that it permits the captain's personal preference to take priority over player performance, ranking and results. Spadea is ranked 18 spots higher than Fish, owns 12 more victories on the season and has produced better clay-court results in the past.

Prior to today's press conference, McEnroe told Tennis Week he chose Fish over Spadea primarily because he truly believes Fish gives the Americans a better chance to win than Spadea. The complete interview with McEnroe will be posted on this web site tomorrow.

"I'm not making the decision based on the fact Vince is older. The primary reason is I believe that Mardy has the best chance to win a match," McEnroe said. "I believe he's got game that can frustrate those guys. Obviously, it's clay so it's a different situation. But the key for me, in my mind, is that Mardy works his butt off these next few weeks, which obviously I'm on him about doing, so that he's in great shape. And if he's in great shape then I think he's got a good chance to win a match."

Conceding Spadea's clay-court credentials have been superior to Fish, McEnroe pointed out that the match-ups — Fish is undefeated against both Moya and Ferrero, while Spadea is winless against Moya and Ferrero — and prior Davis Cup experience favor Fish.

"Spadea's had better results than Fish on clay, but this isn't a clay-court season. We're playing one match," McEnroe said. "I'll say it again: in my mind, in my opinion, Mardy has a better chance to win a match (than Spadea). Does that mean he's necessarily a guy who's going to win more matches on clay throughout the course of a two month season? Well that's debatable. I'm asking him to try to go win one match. And if you put Vince Spadea — or anyone — in their first live match in Davis Cup in the Davis Cup final in front of 25,000 people who are going crazy — and I've been there for Roddick's first Davis Cup match, for Mardy's first Davis Cup match, for James Blake's first Davis Cup match, for Ginepri's first Davis Cup match, down two sets to love, the whole deal — that's very tough. We can't afford that in this big a match. And as I said, as solid a year as Vince has had, he hasn't done great in the majors. He hasn't had great results in Slams, which leads me to think that in five set matches, it's one thing if the guy's unbelievable in five-set matches of if the guy got to the semis of the French. Yeah, he's had better results than Mardy on clay this year. He hasn't had the results that to me make it a no-brainer that he is the obvious pick. To me, Mardy has a better chance to win a match, he's been part of the team."

McEnroe said he considered selecting Spadea, but did not believe the disparity in ranking and results between Spadea and Fish was significant enough to warrant Spadea's selection to the squad.

"I certainly considered Vince seriously," McEnroe said. "I follow all the results from Europe. Unless Vince did something extraordinary, like winning Madrid or doing something outrageous, I was pretty comfortable that I was going to stay with Mardy. He's got us here, he's won some big matches for us, he's got the experience of playing. I'm not going to put someone in there just to gain experience — especially when we're playing in the final for the Davis Cup."

In response to Spadea's call for the USTA to adopt a merit-based selection system relying strictly on rankings to reward the players who have produced the best results over the course of a season, McEnroe said such a system was "absolutely never going to happen" as he believes would limit the captain's flexibility in picking a team best-suited to specific surfaces and opponents.

"Absolutely not. It will certainly never happen as long as I'm the captain. Never," McEnroe said. "I have to pick guys who I feel are best prepared to play on particular surfaces. The morale of the team is important. Match-ups, the fact that Mardy has matched up well with these guys, on different surfaces, but I watched him play Moya at the Australian and that was pretty slow conditions. I watched him play Ferrero at the Olympics. I mean, that's not a guarantee that he's going to win, but that helps. In other words if we had this system where as Vince says we went strictly by the rankings, I mean that's just not going to happen. What if someone's hurt?"

In support of his stance, McEnroe said rankings have never been the sole criteria in his selection process and suggested experience in Davis Cup play is vital when playing a final on foreign soil.

"When I put Ginepri in he wasn't ranked the highest at that point, when I put Blake in over Todd Martin in North Carolina, he wasn't ranked higher. So you have to have some flexibility," McEnroe said. "Mardy got us here, he's won some big matches fo us, he's got the experience of playing. I'm not going to put someone in there just to gain experience— especially when we're playing in the final for the Davis Cup. "

McEnroe said he offered a spot on the squad to Andre Agassi, but Agassi, who has said repeatedly he has no desire to play Davis Cup again, declined.

"Would it count if Spadea were No. 5 in the world? Then of course, that's different," said McEnroe. "The disparity is not like saying it's Andre Agassi who has won the French Open and eight majors.If it was Agassi then you make an exception — and this is in no way meant to disparage Vince Spadea — because he's Andre Agassi. There's only one Andre Agassi. He's won eight Grand Slams, he's one of the greatest players ever, he's Andre Agassi."

The complete Patrick McEnroe interview will be posted on this web site tomorrow.

WyveN
11-12-2004, 04:49 AM
Fish on bagels and bread sticks will be on the menu in Spain

LiZpHaIr
11-12-2004, 04:59 AM
PMac is a skanky little whore. I hate him and his stupid little squinty eyes and his centimeter peter.

CooCooCachoo
11-12-2004, 06:40 AM
Vince :cool:

I like that he wrote that letter :D

Frooty_Bazooty
11-12-2004, 08:17 AM
yeah, but maybe he should have actually sent it to Pat instead of just posting it on a tennis forum :tape:

WyveN
11-12-2004, 08:30 AM
yeah, but maybe he should have actually sent it to Pat instead of just posting it on a tennis forum :tape:

:lol:

RonE
11-12-2004, 09:07 AM
Vince,

Davis Cup it's about a team. And these young guys know each other pretty well and have reached the finals, showing passion and love for America. Besides, i'm not sure if your ass is as tender and salty as Mardy's :drool:. When i fuck him he doesn't rap, he just screams of pleasure like Tatoom :eek: :ignore: while i enjoy pulling his long blonde hair, not just a grassy getto underbrush

Patrick

:haha: :haha: :worship:

Space Cowgirl
11-12-2004, 11:11 AM
Pretty shortsighted decision by Pat Mac IMO. Spadea deserves a place on the US team. And WTF is he going with Genepri? :rolleyes:

Coleburg83
11-12-2004, 02:23 PM
The problem is that Vince hasn't even been taken as part of the team entourage. I mean James Blake maybe floating with falling from the top 100, but he seems to be picked to go with the team everytime. Dent is the same story.

But it should be Agassi over there under those conditions, not Fish or Spadea.

Fumus
11-12-2004, 02:36 PM
Vince is a way better player on clay than Fishy...

Lynne
11-12-2004, 02:39 PM
Why won't he choose Agassi??
LOL @ alfonsojose!! :)

Winston's Human
11-12-2004, 02:58 PM
Vince,

Davis Cup it's about a team. And these young guys know each other pretty well and have reached the finals, showing passion and love for America. Besides, i'm not sure if your ass is as tender and salty as Mardy's :drool:. When i fuck him he doesn't rap, he just screams of pleasure like Tatoom :eek: :ignore: while i enjoy pulling his long blonde hair, not just a grassy getto underbrush

Patrick

LOL

Another classic!

Horatio Caine
11-12-2004, 03:07 PM
Vince deserved to be in that team. Shame on Patrick McEnroe for shunning him. The US stood more of a 5% chance of winning, with Spadea in the team. Mardy plays like a Fish out of water on clay. :)

Socket
11-12-2004, 03:08 PM
yeah, but maybe he should have actually sent it to Pat instead of just posting it on a tennis forum :tape:
He wanted to make sure that the USTA knew about his complaints. That's who his real audience is, not Pat. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Spadea is being helped in this little dispute with those USTA officials who think that McEnroe's contract as DC captain should not be renewed. If the US loses badly, the public nature of Spadea's complaint will make it easier to replace McEnroe.

Ιowyn
11-12-2004, 03:19 PM
it does have some good points but it also misses some major points which are particularly important to this and that is that mardy has a winning record against the spainish team vince has a losing record! which for confidence is a factor and also the fact that mardy has performed well in his previous dc matches so there's no reason for him to lose out. I agree it would be tempting to play vince but it'd have gone for mardy anyway yes i am bias and mardy is one of my fave players but i can still be objective and i do think in these circumstances i would go for mardy. The guys built up a good team spirit with the belarus tie, and obviously won it easily, anyone who's ever played or watched a team sport in their life will know it is best to not change a winning formula unless you absolutely have to.
Also like it or not patrick did say andy's feelings would be taken into account and obviously andy would say he wants his mate with him.
I like vince and all but still would go with mardy.

Ιowyn
11-12-2004, 03:23 PM
Why won't he choose Agassi??


Agassi retired from Davis Cup tennis and said even if he was asked to come back he wouldn't!

Winston's Human
11-12-2004, 03:29 PM
Why won't he choose Agassi??
LOL @ alfonsojose!! :)

If Agassi were willing, PMac would have dumped Mardy in a heartbeat.

buddyholly
11-12-2004, 04:09 PM
ALFONSO: TE QUIERO

Aleksa's Laydee
11-12-2004, 04:17 PM
:zzz:

Mardy :banana:

alfonsojose
11-12-2004, 04:21 PM
ALFONSO: TE QUIERO
YO TAMBIEN :hug:

tangerine_dream
11-12-2004, 05:10 PM
That letter sent to Tennis Week. Here's some responses they got to it:

Reader Response To Vince Spadea Story

Dear Tennis Week,

Being a captain of an USTA team, I can support Vince Spadea claim to be included in the U.S. squad for the final on the grounds that the best players should represent the country in the most important match of the season. His ranking and especially results on clay this year are better than of other candidates. His game style predisposes him to be more successful on clay than either Mardy Fish or Taylor Dent. I think he deserves the spot on the team and in the worst case, he should play a test match on clay vs. the other guys. It is what we do on our USTA team and it seems to be the most objective method of agreeing on the roster for the crucial matches.

I don't think the finals is the right place to "breed" young and prospective players and/or "solidify" the team for future editions of the Cup.

With best regards,
Jacek Wojtowicz
New York
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Tennis Week:

I am truly disappointed that Vince Spadea was snubbed again by McEnroe. What does he have to do to be considered? Obviously, merit doesn't count. Vince has played his heart out week in, week out and has superior results to Mardy Fish. He has absolutely earned the right to represent his country. How can one not admire his gutsy comeback from oblivion to a top twenty contender?

Alice Young
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I am in agreement with PMac that, as the captain, he has the right to pick the Davis Cup squad and selection not be determined by pure rankings. Match-ups have to be considered, just like a baseball manager selects the starting pitcher in the World Series based on lefty pitcher versus right-handed hitters, etc. I feel for Spadea because he has come a long way and had some good results since his awful losing streak. But in the end, it's the captain responsibility to pick the right team. That is the biggest part of the job.

Mary Durkin
Los Angeles
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Dear Tennis Week,

I am outraged by the blatant discrimination in the selection of the Davis Cup team. As in any team sports, the ultimate objective is assemble the best team possible in order to win NOW, not "in the years to come" or 20 years from now. Since when does potential rank higher than actual achievement? According to Pat McEnroe's twisted logic, we can just do away with things like the Olympic Trials and just pick players who show the most potential while bypassing players who are playing significantly better. The way to build a strong the Davis Cup team is to protect its integrity and show young players that if you have proven yourself on the court, your hard work will be recognized by your country. Pat McEnroe has taken away the honor of representing one's country by corrupting the selection process.

I would also like to respond to the letter written by Mr. Dave Coleman from Prairie Village, Kansas. I would like to ask Mr. Coleman since when does speaking out against a flawed system make you a whiner. Mr. Coleman should also get his facts straight — Vincent Spadea offered himself up twice already as an alternate/ practice partner, once in Spain and once in Moscow, even when often the practice partner is a junior or a significantly lower ranked player — and certainly never a player ranked higher than the real members on the team! Finally to ask Vincent Spadea to apologize for making something that even Mr. Coleman himself believes to be wrong public, is yet another kind of twisted logic that no one would buy, unless you are Pat McEnroe.

May Chan
San Gabriel, CA
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I am outraged by Dave Coleman's false accusations in his letter to Tennis Week. Coleman, get your facts straight before you criticize people. Coleman's allegation that Spadea has not offered himself up as a practice partner on the team could not be any further from the truth. The facts are that Vincent's agents, at Vincent's request, have already made it very clear to Pat McEnroe that, with the team concept in mind, Vincent was willing to go to Spain for this Davis Cup match in any capacity — without a spot on the four man team — as an alternate. Spadea has offered up his services to McEnroe to be a team player as a fifth member of the U.S. Davis Cup squad that goes to Seville with the idea of putting forth the best U.S. team possible. McEnroe has declined to take Vincent up on his offer and declined to offer Vincent the opportunity to be the fifth man on the team and travel to Spain as a team member ready to play in case the team needs him! McEnroe has made it clear with his actions that he does not want Vincent, in any capacity, in Seville.

Spadea has always made himself available for Davis Cup play in the past, as an alternate and as a practice partner. In 1995, Spadea, after 10 consecutive weeks on the road, flew half way across the world from Buenos Aires Argentina to Moscow to be a practice partner for the Davis Cup final. He also, at John McEnroe's request, served as an alternate on the Davis Cup team in the semifinal match in 2000 in Spain. Vincent has qualified to play the World Team Cup event twice, and both times he happily represented his country, including captaining the World Team Cup this past year. Why should Spadea say nothing and allow McEnroe to once again, deny him an opportunity that he has earned and to deny the U.S. the opportunity to have their best players available to play in Seville. The Spaniards have named their top ranked six players to the squad and are bringing their best possible to team to the table. Why is McEnroe not? McEnroe's decision is unfair and he is the one that owes Spadea an apology.

Mohammad Hayat
Los Angeles, CA
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PMac stated when he assumed the leadership of the Davis Cup team that he wanted to assemble a TEAM who would be in position to represent the USA as a TEAM for a number of years; he has a good start in doing that. To bring in a "new/old" member at this time would, in my opinion, upset any team chemistry that has been achieved to date. Andy Roddick invited the team to his home in Austin prior to the tie in Charleston, and it seemed they played very well together and had the "team concept" down. And, yes I was in Delray Beach and again in Charleston and these guys are a TEAM!! In my opinion PMac did the right thing!! So I say GOOD LUCK IN SPAIN GUYS!!!!

Marianne Jenks
Jamestown, OH
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Dear Tennis Week:

Vince Spadea makes some very strong arguments for his place on the team.

I believe he is missing the point by asserting that "age" and "friendship" are the dominant criteria a coach uses to make his judgments on team roster decisions.

As a high school tennis coach I understand there are often times where you have to make tough decisions about deserving players for the best interest of the team. I would not find it hard to believe if Patrick McEnroe does not see how strong a case Vince Spadea's results and credentials are for the team. But in the end the Captain must do what is best for the team as a whole and sometimes this will leave individuals with strong credentials disappointed.

From reading the letter Vince wrote I sense that he feels this is a political decision. From a coaches standpoint, here are some areas I think about when evaluating team roster decisions that Vince Spadea may not be considering:

1. Doubles versatility in case of injury
2. Recent Davis Cup participation and match experience
3. Team continuity and cohesiveness
4. Gut feeling

Sincerely,

Brian Lutz
TennisTip.com
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As a coach, tennis professional, and teacher, i find this to be a typically childish resolution. Although Spadea is completely in line with regards to being the next Davis cup member, he went about this wrong. However we don't know what his motives were to have Tennis Week publish his letter. Spadea and McEnroe may have had issues with each other, which maybe the reason as to why he acted in that fashion. If that is the case, Spadea should talk it over with the President of the USTA. Rather than have the tennis fans become discouraged with this situation.

Katie Kennedy
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On Spadea and Davis Cup:

This is the first real chance at us Yanks getting back into the title hunt when we are talking about Davis Cup. Though Spadea could have said it behind closed doors, I think it is important that we as American Tennis Fans know that our squad had the best shot at winning the Cup. If we win it regardless, I do not want to forget Spadea (because that seems to happen in sports i.e. Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe). Spadea has done his duty as a solid tennis player in the world, even more solid than a Mardy Fish who ALWAYS gets picked to the semifinals of Slams like U.S. Open and Wimbledon, and he is also more solid then Taylor "I had the bronze in my grasp, and I got tired" Dent. Andy Roddick, is the best player in the States and also the leader of this team. Maybe we should throw away the stats and the other stuff, and see at the end if this is a team chemistry issue. Spadea, on his merits should be on the team, but on his quality as a teammate, I think the truth is still a mystery.

P.S. Roger Federer is the greatest player of all time
Anand Madhavan
Omaha, NE
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Hi,
I followed Spadea's successes in the last few years and I'm always amazed how come he is not recognized as one of the best US players.

The way Patrick is running his Davis Cup team is based on favoritism. I suggest that he invites Spadea to the Davis Cup team and let him practice with them, then he will decide day by day who he will pick for the final games.

Arie Ghershony
Maryland
------------------------------------------------------------------------
I read the article on Vince Spadea being left off the Davis Cup team and I am amazed. This is America — a place where hard work and success are rewarded — or should be. Patrick McEnroe should be ashamed of himself. Or maybe he already is, being that he was a fifth rate tennis player who would never hold the jobs he holds if his brother wasn't a superstar.

I want the best players representing my country. Spadea has clearly made his case on the court for being a member of the team. He deserves the spot. End of story.

That we are not sending a player who is in the top 20 in the world is wrong. Even if Fish accidentally wins a match on clay (which he won't), it still is wrong. Spadea earned the spot. But then again, Patrick Mac doesn't understand the concept of earning anything.

Dennis Dugan
Pacific Palisades, California
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Dear Tennis Week,

Vince Spadea is dead-on with the content of his letter to Patrick McEnroe. Assuming that Andre Agassi doesn't want to play in the Davis Cup finals, Spadea has earned his spot on the US Davis Cup team. Does McEnroe really think that Mardy Fish has a fighting chance over Moya, Ferrero, Nadal or Robredo? It will be enough to have Andy Roddick win a match against Spain. Spadea would have had a much better chance at winning than Fish.

However, it was incredibly selfish for Spadea to release the letter to Tennis Week for publication. What's that going to solve? Now McEnroe will never put you on the Davis Cup team and the rest of the tennis community will think you're a baby. Spadea needs to grow up and move on. McEnroe's the captain and he selects the team. If the team he selects gets killed then his job as captain is in jeopardy. But for Spadea to make his letter to McEnroe public is just in bad taste. Now the world won't second guess McEnroe decision to bypass Spadea for Fish.

What Spadea should have done is taken the high road and offer himself up as a Davis Cup practice partner. It would have been much harder for McEnroe to ignore not picking Spadea if he shows that he is a team player and can perform on the court. In the future, Spadea should offer to represent the USA at the Hopman Cup, ATP World Team Championship, 2005's Davis Cup team in any capacity and offer a public apology to McEnroe for releasing his letter to Tennis Week.

No one likes a whiner — even if he's right.

Dave Coleman
Prairie Village, KS

MisterQ
11-12-2004, 05:12 PM
So Vincent sent this letter to TennisWeek...

I could be proven wrong, but my first impression is that making such a letter public is does not work in Vincent's favor. Generally, personal communications should be kept personal. If this were a private matter, PMac might have been willing to rethink things (Vincent has some very strong arguments). Now that it has turned into a public matter, PMac might think he will lose face as coach if he gives in.

Socket
11-12-2004, 05:36 PM
PMac should be more concerned about losing face as coach if his team goes down 5-0.

As I heard it, a COPY of the letter was sent to Tennis Week. Spadea's management company got the original to PMac earlier.

Chloe le Bopper
11-12-2004, 06:30 PM
:hearts: :inlove: :drool: Mardy Fish is a beautiful boy.

In any case, I always thought that the point of Davis Cup was learning to unite tennis players of a certain nation by asking them to voluntarily play for their country. If Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick and the Bryans have worked together, been successful and become friends and exemplary representatives of their home, surely they deserve to continue to the finals together.


David Cup is a team event for sure, and team chemistry and blah is important. However, it's not a highschool team event that takes place during gym class, where stacking a team with your buddies is appropriate. Its' a world cass event, and unless an individual has given any indication that they will bring the other members down (perhaps Vince has, but Pat has never passed that off as an excuse if that is the case), it's ridiculous to overlook them in favour of somebody that you just happen to like better. It's an event for *professionals* and should thus be handled *professionally*. A big whatever to Patty Mac.

Chloe le Bopper
11-12-2004, 06:34 PM
So Vincent sent this letter to TennisWeek...

I could be proven wrong, but my first impression is that making such a letter public is does not work in Vincent's favor. Generally, personal communications should be kept personal. If this were a private matter, PMac might have been willing to rethink things (Vincent has some very strong arguments). Now that it has turned into a public matter, PMac might think he will lose face as coach if he gives in.
Frankly, I don't see how it can hurt him anymore. It's obvious that Pat just doesn't like the guy, and no matter what he does, Pat will not consider him. Well, at least that's how it looks to me ;) I imagine that he and his agents have tried numerous times to communicate with Pat about it on a personal level, and that clearly hasn't worked. So, here we are.

Pea
11-12-2004, 06:39 PM
Pat has chosen the team already if no one has noticed yet.

Chloe le Bopper
11-12-2004, 06:41 PM
Pat has chosen the team already if no one has noticed yet.
Erm, yeah, we noticed. I'm not sure what that has to do with my comments, but thanks for the tip.

Chloe le Bopper
11-12-2004, 06:41 PM
Sorry. That was snarky. I'm crabby and am going for a nap now :sad:

Pea
11-12-2004, 06:43 PM
I don't think that was directly towards you or your post before mine.;)

Chloe le Bopper
11-12-2004, 06:43 PM
Yeah, I realized that after. That's why I said sorry. Nap time now :D

MisterQ
11-12-2004, 06:45 PM
Frankly, I don't see how it can hurt him anymore. It's obvious that Pat just doesn't like the guy, and no matter what he does, Pat will not consider him. Well, at least that's how it looks to me ;) I imagine that he and his agents have tried numerous times to communicate with Pat about it on a personal level, and that clearly hasn't worked. So, here we are.

I see what you mean. If after a number of attempts Vince thinks it is basically a lost cause, then it makes some sense to put this letter out there as a critique of the current coach and protocol for choosing DC players.

CooCooCachoo
11-13-2004, 05:32 AM
:bigclap:

Come on already.. Select Vince :D

FryslanBoppe
11-13-2004, 05:55 AM
It's not like Vince is going to win a match, then again he will perform better than Mardy would on the clay.

I mean Vinny could win 5 titles next year and have a positive record against everyone in the top 10 and he still wouldn't get picked. They have to pick their best team, and the best individuals don't always make the best teams, though personally he has some valid points and for this tie should have been selected.

Chloe le Bopper
11-13-2004, 06:18 AM
They have to pick their best team, and the best individuals don't always make the best teams, though personally he has some valid points and for this tie should have been selected.

The best individuals don't always make up the best team, that's true, but I think that argument works a bit better in say... football ;) Obviously there has to be team chemistry if the team is going to be effectively supportive of one another, but it just seems so highschool-gym-class to pick a guy just because the other guys like him better. Unless Vince has done something to *deserve* being shunned by the team, aside from just being him, it really rubs me the wrong way.

I see your past point that he should have been selected for this tie, I just had to get the highschool-gym-class rant out ;)

Ιowyn
11-14-2004, 02:52 AM
fact of the matter it davis cup is a team eevnt this sort of letter proves vince is not a team player he's there for number 1, he's not saying please pick me i long to represent my country, he's saying i'm better than the rest pick me and thats big headed, even andy wants to play coz he wants to represent his country not coz it's for him, ditto mardy, and i think robby, james and taylor etc would all say the same thing, you don't see taylor complaining that he's better than mardy and should go instead do you?

fact is it is a TEAM sport and mardy, andy, bob and mike have proven themselves as a good team. PMac is doing the right thing, also IF anything happened to bob and mike and they couldn't play mardy and andy have played doubles together a number of times and could pair up easily if it were required, the same cannot be said for vince.

Deboogle!.
11-14-2004, 02:54 AM
in case anyone was interested, PMac's full interview was posted, so here's his side of the story:
-------

The Tennis Week Interview: Patrick McEnroe
By Richard Pagliaro
11/13/2004

Patrick McEnroe and Vince Spadea never faced each other as professionals, but they've engaged in an enlightening rally in recent days. Instead of exchanging shots, the pair have traded thoughts regarding the criteria U.S Davis Cup captain McEnroe used in selecting the United States squad that will compete for its 32nd Davis Cup championship when it faces host Spain in the Cup final on the red clay of Seville, December 3rd-5th.

At a midtown Manhattan press conference yesterday, McEnroe announced he has selected the same cast that stopped Sweden in April's quarterfinals and beat Belarus in September's semifinal — second-ranked Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and twins Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan — to take on the Spanish squad that features a pair of former top-ranked Roland Garros champions in Carlos Moya and Juan Carlos Ferrero forming the foundation for a team that includes talented teen Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo.

The third-highest ranked American man — 19th-ranked Vince Spadea — was not selected to the team and though Spadea told Tennis Week he would be willing to make the trip to Spain as an alternate, it appears that spot may go to Robby Ginepri.

If the ultimate barometer of success in professional sports is winning and losing then you can't find much fault with McEnroe's performance as captain this season. The captain has guided the United States to its first Davis Cup final since 1997 and created a cohesive team of young, talented players who have made the quest to reclaim the Cup the U.S. last won in 1995 their primary pursuit. It's a team so tight the players grew up together — Roddick and Fish were housemates in high school — and so in tune with one another they often finish each other's sentences.

The final represents the United States' first tie on foreign soil this season and faced with the prospect of playing before thousands of vocal, partisan fans, McEnroe believes the support of teammates who have shared prior Davis Cup tests together is vital and believes he would be doing a disservice to the four players who have carried the U.S. to the Cup final if he were to drop one player in favor of Spadea now.

"Obviously, the chemistry of our team is very good and it's been successful to this point," McEnroe said. "To turn around and change at this point makes no sense in my mind. You're certainly entitled to disagree and he's certainly entitled to state his case."

Spadea counters that each Davis Cup tie is, in effect, a new tournament and the very fact that the Davis Cup format requires countries to select a squad before each tie compels captains to pick the best players for that tie.

"As for the argument that another legitimate factor in the selection process should be sticking with the team that got you to the final, that contention holds no merit whatsoever," Spadea told Tennis Week. "If that were the way the process was meant to work, then team selections would occur only once a year on January 1. We all know that is not the structure of the selection process, and that in fact, selections are made before each Davis Cup match. The only logical explanation for that structure is to allow countries to pick the best players at the time the selections are made."

Despite their Davis Cup differences, McEnroe and Spadea share a common history. Both are sons of attorneys, both spent their formative in large cities, both were highly successful junior players, both based their games on penetrating two-handed backhands and both are opinionated, intelligent individuals.

"My best years were late so I have a real understanding of what he's been able to do, particularly with not having all the natural game," McEnroe said of Spadea. "He's a workhorse and so I have a lot of respect for what he's done."

An arm-chair analyst might conclude McEnroe sees some of himself in Spadea. And as a man who grew up under the same roof as one of the game's most gifted players he recognizes the power of potential and simply feels more confident going with a player who has yet to fully tap his talent than a player who may well have maximized his own talent.

"I believe Mardy has the best chance to win the match, based on his ability, based on his experience playing Davis Cup, based on the fact he played well in the Olympics, he's played well in some big, big matches for us," McEnroe said."I still believe Mardy's got a tremendous upside as far as his career goes. And I think he's got a lot of game. I don't think he's lived up to his potential yet."

The 30-year-old Spadea feels he's trapped in a Catch-22: he has been bypassed for players with more Davis Cup experience, yet Spadea himself cannot gain Davis Cup experience if he is not selected to the team in the first place.

Spadea has invested an immense amount of time, effort and sweat into clawing his way back from the brink of oblivion when he suffered an ATP Tour record 21 straight losses and fell so far off the radar he was reduced to playing challengers to this year when he captured his first career tournament title and produced the best year of his career. Understandably, Spadea believes he has paid his dues, kept his end of the bargain and has rightfully earned his right to represent his country. To be rewarded for his efforts with another Davis Cup rejection is a bit like spending a year working on commission only to be presented with a promissory note and watch as a colleague gains the promotion he's worked for.

There's no question Fish has the ability to compete with just about anyone on the planet not named Federer (then again, Fish was the only man to take a set off Federer at Wimbledon 2003), the question is he fit, fast and focused enough to win against two former top-ranked French Open champions?

McEnroe believes he is and has compelling statistics to support his case. Fish is undefeated against probable Spanish singles starters Moya and Ferrero, while Spadea is winless against the pair. Additionally, Fish's victory over Karol Kucera in the 2003 World Group Players on red clay essentially saved the U.S. from falling out of the World Group. McEnroe believes without Fish's contributions, the United States wouldn't be in the final in the first place.

"I have to pick guys who I feel are best prepared to play on particular surfaces," McEnroe said. "The morale of the team is important. Match-ups, the fact that Mardy has matched up well with these guys, on different surfaces, but I watched him play Moya at the Australian and that was pretty slow conditions. I watched him play Ferrero at the Olympics. I mean, that's not a guarantee that he's going to win, but that helps."

The implication with Fish the best is yet to come and with Spadea this season may just be as good as it's ever going to get.

Spadea states sports isn't about speculation it's about results. And just as results are a direct representation of wins and losses, Spadea asserts that a selection process which is not based on rankings and results is inherently unfair and potentially discriminatory. At the core of Spadea's contention is how can a country field its best team if the captain does not select the best players according to the rankings?

"The USTA's goal in selecting a team for Davis Cup should be to assemble the best players available and field the strongest team possible," Spadea told Tennis Week. "That is never going to happen as long as the selection process involves the consideration of irrelevant and unjust factors like age or friendships. As for age, if it were a legitimate basis upon which to measure a player's ability then logically all of the players younger than me, including Fish and Dent, would be ranked ahead of me. They are not. In fact, at No. 19 in the world, there are few that are. You cannot argue with the rankings. You can ignore them, and offer other illegitimate reasons for selecting lower ranked players, but that does not change the fact that the rankings objectively, without regard to bias or personal preference, determine who the best players are."

A primary part of the Davis Cup captain's job is to use his judgment to choose the players who will give his team the best chance to win. McEnroe believes taking that responsibility out of the captain's hands and placing it on the hard drive of the computer rankings would not only be restrictive, it would be senseless. Theoretically, such a system could limit a captain's ability to adjust his team based on variables such as surface, match-ups with opposing players and potential parings in doubles. It could also leave a nation vulnerable should one of its top players sustain an injury. For instance, if injuries sidelined the current corps of American starters next year and prevented them from defending ranking points, McEnroe might be forced to field a team of Kevin Kim, Alex Bogomolov, Jr., Glenn Weiner and Paul Goldstein — all currently ranked between 102-135 — rather than Roddick, Fish and the Bryan brothers.

Ask McEnroe what he thinks of adopting a ranking-based selection system and he looks at you like you've just asked permission to perform root canal surgery on him with a rusty pair of pliers.

"No, that's absolutely never going to happen," McEnroe said. "Absolutely not. It will certainly never happen as long as I'm the captain."

The possibility of Spadea playing Davis Cup during McEnroe's tenure is not nearly as definitive.

Asked if he was concerned his public stance could diminish his prospects of being picked to play Davis Cup for the future, Spadea said he's willing to take that personal risk to take a stand on principle.

"I am not concerned about how articulating my thoughts on Pat McEnroe's selection process will affect my future chances of being named to the team because this is an issue of principle for me," Spadea told Tennis Week. "It is unfortunate, on a personal level, that in this instance the bias in his process is adversely affecting me. But the bigger picture is that it will continue to hurt other players, the overall strength of the team, and the integrity of the sport in the United States if the Davis Cup captain continues to base his selections on all factors other than performance and ranking. It is patently wrong to discriminate based on age in any professional environment. Further, to allow off court factors and personal preferences, rather than players' rankings and records, to dictate the Davis Cup selections is wrong. I know it and anyone who understands sports knows it. I feel compelled to speak out against the blatant unfairness of the selection process and I would never regret calling it as I, and most others, see it."

Not surprisingly, McEnroe sees it differently.

Prior to officially announcing the Davis Cup team McEnroe sat down with Tennis Week at a table on the second floor of the Spanish restaurant, Solera, in midtown Manhattan. With members of the 1954 U.S. Davis Cup championship squad — Hall of Famers Tony Trabert and Vic Seixas and Ham Richardson, the self-described "very happy third member of a two-man team, who hit with McEnroe when he was a child — seated nearby, McEnroe discussed his response to Spadea's statements, the reasons behind his selections and the United States' chances of upsetting the favored Spanish squad in next month's final.
..........

The Tennis Week Interview: Patrick McEnroe


By Richard Pagliaro
11/13/2004



Tennis Week: I want to ask you about your reaction to Vince Spadea's letter. It seems the core of his argument is that performance typically dictates results in sports: if the Knicks outscore the 76ers, the Knicks win. If Roddick wins more sets than Ferrero in the U.S. Open final, then Roddick wins the U.S. Open title. Spadea is saying: "With that in mind, I'm ranked ahead of these guys, I've got more wins this year, so why am I not on the team? Isn't that the way sports work?"

Patrick McEnroe: Well he has more match wins and he also has 10 more losses than Mardy. First of all, let me say I have tremendous respect for what Spadea has done. I know from getting to my highest ranking when I was in my late 20s that it's very tough to do that.

Tennis Week: Your career as a player was similar to his: you both had your best years late in your career.

Patrick McEnroe: Right. My best years were late so I have a real understanding of what he's been able to do, particularly with not having all the natural game. He's a workhorse and so I have a lot of respect for what he's done. First of all, I believe Mardy has the best chance to win the match, based on his ability, based on his experience playing Davis Cup, based on the fact he's played well in the Olympics, he's played well in some big, big matches for us. I still believe Mardy's got a tremendous upside as far as his career goes. And I think he's got a lot of game. I don't think he's lived up to his potential yet. In saying that, that's not really the reason why I'm picking him in this match. Mardy won probably, at least in my tenure as captain, the biggest single match we've had, which was winning on clay (Fish scored a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Karol Kucera in the World Group Playoff tie in September of 2003) away, in front of a hostile crowd, down 1-0. Roddick had just lost.

Tennis Week: And if Fish loses that match, you're pretty much done?

Patrick McEnroe: If he loses that match then you've got the Bryans, who are obviously favored, but you know they hadn't played a match yet in Davis Cup. So you know, down 0-2 with the crowd (against us), we're in a tight spot. So Mardy stepped up and won a big match, he's also had some poor matches, but he did it on clay. I made a decision, Richard, four years ago, to go with the younger group we had. The only way that I could justify to myself putting in someone that hasn't been part of the team, they'd have to be so far clearly better (than the current players)...

Tennis Week: You mean if it was Agassi...

Patrick McEnroe: If it was Agassi then you make an exception — and this is in no way meant to disparage Vince Spadea — because he's Andre Agassi. There's only one Andre Agassi. He's won eight Grand Slams, he's one of the greatest players ever, he's Andre Agassi.

Tennis Week: I don't think Spadea — or just about anyone else for that matter —would have a problem with Agassi on the team.

Patrick McEnroe: Well I'm not making the decision based on the fact Vince is older. The primary reason is I believe that Mardy has the best chance to win a match. I believe he's got a game that can frustrate those guys. Obviously, it's clay so it's a different situation. But the key for me, in my mind, is that Mardy works his butt off these next few weeks, which obviously I'm on him about doing, so that he's in great shape. And I think if he's in great shape, then I think he's got a good chance to win a match.

Tennis Week: How do you respond to people who say: "Fish has played only one match on clay this year?" Spadea had better clay-court results this year and last year?

Patrick McEnroe: Well, Fish was injured this year during the clay court season. Obviously, he's had better results on fast courts. Spadea's had better results on hard courts than on clay this year. He's had better results than Fish on clay, but this isn't a clay-court season. We're playing one match. I'll say it again: in my mind, in my opinion, Mardy has a better chance to win a match (than Spadea). Does that mean that he's necessarily a guy who's going to win more matches (than Spadea) on clay throughout the course of a two month season? Well that's debatable. I'm asking him to try to go win one match. And if you put Vince Spadea — or anyone — in their first live match in Davis Cup in the Davis Cup final in front of 25,000 people who are going crazy — and I've been there for Roddick's first Davis Cup match, for Mardy's first Davis Cup match, for James Blake's first Davis Cup match, for Ginepri's first Davis Cup match, down two sets to love, the whole deal — that's very tough. We can't afford that in this big a match. And as I said, as solid a year as Vince has had, he hasn't done great in the majors. He hasn't had great results in Slams, which leads me to think that in five-set matches, it's one thing if the guy's unbelievable in five-set matches or if the guy got to the semis of the French. Yeah, he's had better results than Mardy on clay this year. He hasn't had the results that to me make it a no-brainer that he is the obvious pick. To me, Mardy has a better chance to win a match, he's been part of the team. If everything were exactly equal between the two guys, yeah, that counts. Team chemistry counts, with this group especially because they get along so well, they push each other, they prod each other, they get on each other's case and that's all good. That's the thing that I tried to start building four years ago, so to think they when we make it to the finals that I'm going to go against that would not be fair to the goal that I set and it wouldn't be fair to the team.

Tennis Week: You mean in the sense that you're asking Fish for his loyalty and commitment to Davis Cup and then when it comes time to play for the Cup if you said: "thanks for helping, but see you when we get back..." I mean, I can see it both ways: if you bail out on Fish at this point, after what he's contributed, after he's been there for you, understandably he's not going to feel that's fair.

Patrick McEnroe: Right. Mardy was there for us in (the first-round tie against Austria in) Connecticut when he didn't play and he knew he wasn't going to play. I believe in Mardy. I believe in what Mardy is capable of doing.

Tennis Week: So you're saying it's more pro-Fish than anti-Spadea?

Patrick McEnroe: Oh, completely, clearly, no question.

Tennis Week: Well then how do you respond to Spadea's situation? Vince is saying: "I've done what they've asked, I've produced the results and rankings and now I'm in a Catch-22 because experience counts, but how can I get experience when nobody picks me?" You know, how can I gain Davis Cup experience if no one picks me to play Davis Cup?

Patrick McEnroe: I wasn't the captain when Vince Spadea was out on the tour for 10 years. If you get to be ranked high enough you're going to be chosen to play early in your career. It just so happens that now he's ranked higher than those other guys, but throughout the year that hasn't always been the case. As I said, I have tremendous respect for what he's done. But you gotta prove it more than just having a good couple months. And he's had a good year — I'm not taking anything away from him. To say that he wants it on his record to play Davis Cup, well first of all, he's played Davis Cup, number one. He was on the team and you know my goal as the captain is not to fulfill someone's personal dream. You know, I would have wanted to play singles in Davis Cup too, many players would. I mean as much as I respect Vince for his desire and for wanting to play and for doing what he's done, when I came on as captain, I think he was ranked 200 in the world. OK. So it wasn't like I brushed off Vince Spadea for four years. I mean, he wasn't even in the mix, as far as even a possibility, really, until this year. And I believe in the young guys we have. I believe in working with them. I believe in sticking with them. And I think they need to be pushed and prodded and I'm going to keep doing that.

Tennis Week: What do you think about Spadea's point that we should revise the selection process. Let's just make it cut and dried, merit based, let's just go right to the rankings and go with the highest-ranked players first. Do you think that will ever happen?

Patrick McEnroe: No, that's absolutely never going to happen. Absolutely not. It will certainly never happen as long as I'm the captain.

Tennis Week: Why not?

Patrick McEnroe: Because I have to pick guys who I feel are best prepared to play on particular surfaces. The morale of the team is important. Match-ups, the fact that Mardy has matched up well with these guys, on different surfaces, but I watched him play Moya at the Australian and that was pretty slow conditions. I watched him play Ferrero at the Olympics. I mean, that's not a guarantee that he's going to win, but that helps. So in other words if we had this system where as Vince says we went strictly by the rankings, I mean that's just not going to happen. What if someone's hurt? When I put Ginepri in he wasn't ranked the highest at that point; when I put Blake in over Todd Martin in North Carolina, he wasn't ranked higher than him. So you have to have some flexibility. I completely disagree with going in that direction.

Tennis Week: How seriously did you consider Vince for a place on the team? Did you consider him at all for this tie? I know you contacted Agassi so when he declined what was the thought process that led you to this team?

Patrick McEnroe: I certainly considered Vince seriously. I certainly follow all the results from Europe and thankfully I have the Tennis Channel so I watch a lot of matches. I watched his match against Nadal, I watched Mardy beat Ancic and Andy lose to Mirnyi so I see a lot of tennis. Obviously, the case of Agassi is the exception because he's Agassi. Without having him available for this match, unless Vince did something extraordinary, like winning Madrid or doing something outrageous, I was pretty comfortable that I was going to stay with Mardy. He's got us here, he's won some big matches for us, he's got the experience of playing. You can't just say "Vince is in the Catch-22 because he wasn't picked before." I'm not going to put someone in there just to give him experience — especially when we're playing in the final for the Davis Cup. I mean, I'm going to throw him out there in his first live match when we're playing for the final? I have always thought — and this was as a brother, as a player, as a practice player, as a commentator, whatever role I've been associated with in Davis Cup — I believe that team chemistry really matters and really counts. Not just for one match, but for the whole program and for what we're trying to do. And that was really one of my goals: was trying to turn around the mind-set of the program, to say every year we are going to be into it. We're not just going to hope "God, we hope we get Andre, we hope we get Roddick to play..."; we want to really have a cohesive unit of guys and that's why I've had Mardy there as a practice partner, that's why Ginepri's been there, that's why Blake came to South Carolina (for the semifinal victory over Belarus) when he was injured. All those things, I think, count, when you step out on the court to play. Would it count if Spadea were five in the world? Then of course, that's different.

Tennis Week: So you're saying the disparity (between Spadea and Fish) is not great enough?

Patrick McEnroe: Exactly. The disparity is not like saying it's Andre Agassi who has won the French Open and eight majors. I'll say it again without any negativity toward Vince Spadea: you make that exception for Andre Agassi — because he's Andre Agassi.

Tennis Week: Are you concerned you're leaving yourself short if there's an injury to Roddick or Fish and one of the Bryan brothers has to go out there and play singles against a former French Open champion like Moya or Ferrero on clay? Is that a concern?

Patrick McEnroe: Sure I'm concerned about it. I mean, I may bring someone as the fifth guy just to have there.

Tennis Week: What is the exact rule on the fifth guy's eligibility to play?

Patrick McEnroe: Once you make the call on Thursday, before you do the draw ceremony, that's it. Unless, like let's say we did the draw at noon and Roddick went out at 2 and twisted his ankle, then I believe you have a doctor right there and you could substitute at that point. There is a window, right after the draw, I believe.

Tennis Week: Well why not bring Spadea as the fifth guy then?

Patrick McEnroe: Well I may bring someone, but I'm not sure I'm going to bring him.

Tennis Week: Has anything Vince has said in stating his belief impact his potential future in being selected as part of the team?

Patrick McEnroe: What's going to impact it more is how he does.

Tennis Week: His results?

Patrick McEnroe: His results. Certainly next year is a new year and a new potential for a new team. But to say I'm going to throw him into the final...Am I discounting you just because you wrote some letter? I'm glad to see he's interested, I'm glad he's interested. Hey, the guy's passionate about it, he wants to play, and that's great.

Tennis Week: Has he come to you and say "Patrick, let's talk?"

Patrick McEnroe: No. I've left him a few messages and I've never heard back from him. Maybe he doesn't want to talk to me, you know whatever, but that's fine.

Tennis Week: Do you have a good relationship with Vince overall?

Patrick McEnroe: I have a good relationship with him. I mean, I don't know him as well as I know the other guys. Obviously, I don't spend as much time with him. He came to the Olympics and had a good time, I thought, there. I tried to be there and help him when he asked. I mean, he's 30 years old so he's more set in his ways. It's like when Todd Martin played Davis Cup, I'm not going to tell Todd Martin a million things. OK. He's been out there for 10 years. So it's a little bit different. I've known Robby, Mardy and Andy since they were 17, 18 years old. So I think I've been more mentor-like and been someone who's there for him or given them opinions whether they like it or not and have been there for them. With Vince, it's not like that. Certainly, if he came and asked me, I'd give him my opinion, which I've done before. But no, I don't keep as much in touch with him as I do the other guys.

Tennis Week: But the actual selections, is that a product of the friendships you have with Roddick, Fish or any of the guys or even the friendships the players have with themselves? You're saying that the friendships have nothing to do with it?

Patrick McEnroe: It absolutely has nothing do with why I'm picking the team. I'm picking the team because I feel that Mardy has the best chance to win a match. And all the other stuff that Vince points out, the friendships, etc., you know that's not it. If Vince Spadea beat Mardy Fish, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, then you throw friendship out the window. Obviously, the chemistry of our team is very good and it's been successful to this point. To turn around and change at this point makes no sense in my mind. You're certainly entitled to disagree and he's certainly entitled to state his case.

Tennis Week: I can see it both ways. If I was Fish and you came to me and said: "Sorry Mardy, I'm leaving you off the team for the final" I'd be upset. I would not be happy. At the same time if I was Spadea and I had the superior ranking and results and felt I'd earned the right to play and was not given it, yeah I'd definitely be upset and I can completely understand being pissed.

Patrick McEnroe: Look, just judging by our conversation it's a tough call. It's a tough call. There's no perfect answer. There's no easy answer and I've got to take all that into account.

Tennis Week: But getting back to your earlier comment about taking a fifth guy, who will that be? Who is it?

Patrick McEnroe: It could be Ginepri because he's been on the team before. He's been a guy who would be a good practice guy. I can do do that (pick the fifth guy) anytime I want. Basically once you name the four guys that day (the day of the draw) you're stuck, you're locked. So in other words, if Roddick goes out and twists his ankle the first game of the match, that's it, you're in trouble. That's the nature of the beast. That's more of a (risk of having a) doubles team as opposed to singles guys playing doubles. Obviously for us its worked, having a doubles team. They (the Bryan twins) are undefeated and haven't lost a set. They bring a very strong commitment to the team, they bring an energy, they bring an enthusiasm, they take pressure off the singles guys because they know these guys are going to be there on Saturday. They gear up for it, they want to be there and they win. And I think it takes some of the pressure off the singles guys. Andy knows going out there: "I don't necessarily have to win two matches", which he's been able to do, certainly at home. Would Spadea play well over there? Yeah, I think he could play well. I do, I think he can play well. But at the same time, I feel Mardy's got a bigger game, he's got more weapons and he's someone I feel I can work with him over the course of a match.

Tennis Week: Let's talk about the tie overall. On paper, Spain is an immense favorite with the two former French Open champions Moya and Ferrero. In fact, even if they went with Robredo and Nadal, I think they'd be favored. But at the same time, Ferrero has had an injury-plagued season, his confidence is not what it was. Moya has complained of shoulder problems and hasn't played recently. They seem like they might be vulnerable — or maybe I'm just reading too much into it with the injuries. What do you think?

Patrick McEnroe: Clearly, we're the underdogs. I don't think they're as dominant as they've been on clay. Clearly, Ferrero is struggling, he's trying out this new racquet. Moya's been out.

Tennis Week: What have you heard about their health?

Patrick McEnroe: I've heard basically what you've heard. I mean even Nadal pulled out and had some shoulder troubles in Madrid. I saw that match with Spadea in Madrid and he looked to be struggling toward the end. Robredo seems to be pretty fit. I think we can see any one of those four guys in singles. I don't think it's by any means a given that it's gonna be Ferrero and Moya playing all the singles matches. And by the way, they've also got (lefthanders Fernando) Verdasco and (Feliciano) Lopez, who they can also pull in. I'm not really looking too much as to who they're going to have. For us, the main thing is being in great shape and to be physically ready to go the distance. And if we do that, we can beat those guys. We're the under dog, but we're not playing Ferrero or Moya two weeks after they won the French. They're not quite at their peak point, but in saying that they're still gonna be practicing their butts off now and they're going to be as prepared as they can possibly be. But confidence means a lot and in a situation like that having had wins and success is important. I think it will be good for Andy to play Houston and Mardy played a bunch of tournaments and the Bryans have had a pretty good last two months, so I feel pretty good about them. My concern is that we're physically ready to go. I think the mental stuff — dealing with the crowd and trying not to get over excited — I think we can handle that. We want to play our game: we want to hit some big serves and be able to end points quickly, but we also want to be able to play 15 to 20 shot rallies here and there.

Tennis Week: Do you think Mardy is physically fit enough and has the stamina to play those type of demanding rallies in a best-of-five set match?

Patrick McEnroe: Well that's a huge question mark. That's a big part of what I've been working on with him and continuing to push him physically and to upgrade his fitness. Look, if he's not in great shape, he's gonna struggle. But if he's in great shape, he's got a chance. So I've told him that. I've talked to (fitness guru and noted trainer) Pat Etcheberry and I've talked to his people about it.

Tennis Week: How does Mardy feel? Does he feel he's in good enough shape to do it?

Patrick McEnroe: He feels he's working hard now. He's trying to lay a good base. He's working on his cardio, doing some running, doing some hills. He's got a few more weeks and I think that's enough. He's a good athlete. He's a natural athlete. He played five sets at the Olympics and he was fine, physically. He lost the match, but he was fine physically. What I'm saying is that I don't feel he has too far to go. I just feel he needs that push.

Tennis Week: I agree with everything you've said about Fish's athleticism, his weapons, his ability. The thing that concerns me is he occasionally seems to lose focus by getting cranky and caught up over a questionable call. Remember what happened in Australia after he beat Moya when he's up two sets to love against Ferreira? He just mentally loses it and only won five games the rest of the match. At those times you feel like yelling at him: "Dude, you've got game, you've got the ability. Just play the game and don't get caught up in the calls and lose it." Can you explain it? What's that all about?

Patrick McEnroe: First of all, let me say if you know you're in physically great shape, that makes a difference. You don't get as cranky. That happened to me a little bit. You look at a great player like Lendl and look at how getting into great shape changed him mentally. Lendl was known as being mentally fragile until he worked so hard physically that he was able to overcome it. Agassi used to flail at balls sometimes before he got into great shape. So I've worked on that a lot with Mardy in Charleston. As far as: "Listen, you're going to get some bad calls. The guy's going to hit a lucky shot. Forget about it." I remember in (the Davis Cup semifinals) Charleston at one point in the fourth set with Mirnyi he got a shaky call or he double faulted twice and then sort of got one bad call. All of a sudden, in his mind, that's why he lost serve; forgetting the fact he double faulted twice and missed an easy shot. So he got up and was doing his usual bickering with the umpire. So I said: "Mardy, listen when you get up (from the changeover) you can say one more thing to the umpire and that's it, it's over." Because you have to understand his mind frame, you can't just turn it off. So he got up, he made a little comment to the umpire, he turned and sort of smiled at me and that was it. Then he went on and played a hell of a fourth set. So get the last word and then just forget it.

Tennis Week: So are you saying if his body is in better shape then it's going to strengthen his mind?

Patrick McEnroe: No question. Absolutely no question. There's no doubt in my mind that will play a big part. Is it going to solve all his problems? No, but it's going to help a lot in his attitude, in his ability to move his feet every point. Because if you're a little concerned about your fitness, you think: "I'll save a little energy" then you get a little lazy, a little lackadaisical, a little irritated. All those things connect in some way. So the good thing about Mardy is that I feel there's still a big upside there. And I feel that he's had, not a great year, a little inconsistent. So I think it all does matter. I believe in Mardy. I believe in his potential.

Tennis Week: This could be a big moment for him. It could really help his confidence in his career, but I thought the Olympics would do that for him — that his performance there would propel him the rest of the season.

Patrick McEnroe: The thing with Mardy is that he needs to be constantly kicked in the butt.

Tennis Week: You've got big feet so you're the right guy for the job.

Patrick McEnroe: I do it in a loving way. I believe in him. Sometimes, I piss him off. I think he knows I'm trying to help him. That doesn't mean he always agrees with what I'm saying, but that's OK. I think he knows I have his best interests at stake.

Tennis Week: You look at Fish, Dent and Ginepri and I don't believe they've had the type of years that they wanted to have or that people expected. Why is that? What's it going to take for them to pick it up and reach their potential?

Patrick McEnroe: I could go on forever about each of them. I'll say in a general comment they each need to look hard at being more professional in whatever that means — whether it's a mental thing, whether it's Taylor Dent getting into better shape, whether it's Mardy in a combination of physical and mental — you know whatever it is for them it was not easy, but it was relatively routine to get from No. 200 to No. 50 to No. 30. To get to 20 from 30 and from 20 to 15 and to 10 is a lot harder. It takes a lot of dedication and incredible amount of hard work.

Tennis Week: Do you think they each have it within to get there?

Patrick McEnroe: Yes, I do.

Tennis Week: Do you think the desire is there?

Patrick McEnroe: I think it's in there somewhere. Is it obvious and right there on the surface? No, but I do think it's there and they all have it in different ways. But they've gotta realize if they want to maximize their potential, then they've got to do everything possible to get there. Because everybody else is. Everybody else around the world is killing themselves to try to get there.

Ιowyn
11-14-2004, 03:24 AM
Unless Vince has done something to *deserve* being shunned by the team,

maybe it's the rapping

Mr_Molik
11-15-2004, 08:59 AM
poor vince :sad: he so deserves it
he would have got smashed anyway, but so will fish, ginepri and duck :rolleyes:

Smankyou
11-15-2004, 09:24 AM
Pat's a twat.

Spadea rates on clay.

Horatio Caine
11-15-2004, 10:14 AM
Good luck Spain - show McEnrow how wrong he was to field water-creatures in singles. Rappers kick ass! :)

Sjengster
11-15-2004, 04:36 PM
The point about team spirit is just about the only defence McEnroe has for making this decision, and even then it's dubious - yes, Davis Cup is a team competition, but when you get out on court for the singles rubbers it's still ultimately an individual sport. I fail to see why Roddick and the Bryans would find it so much harder to stand up and clap Spadea after every point than they would to clap Fish instead. His other points are unmitigated crap, e.g. the mention of Slam performances this year and Vinny's lack of success in that department. Spadea made the second week of Wimbledon, did Fish light it up at the Slams in 2004? Nope, he only played three of them (guess which one he missed) and won a grand total of two matches.

Had Fish played so much as a single match on European clay this year then I might be a bit more generous towards him. Had he won either of the five-set matches he played this year instead of losing them both from two sets to one up, the second to the mighty Michal Tabara at the US Open, then I might also consider him to have a chance over five sets in the DC final. Had any of his wins over Ferrero and Moya been on clay, and had he won any of them convincingly without relying on chokes from them, then I would think he had a slight chance to do the same in Spain (Spadea has at least played Ferrero on clay, albeit unsuccessfully). Had Fish actually won "a lot of big matches" for the US team this year, instead of going 1-1 in singles against players who play his style of game, Bjorkman and Mirnyi, and winning one match on clay last year against an injured opponent in Kucera who didn't have a single clay-court victory in 2003 (clay is scarcely his best surface either), then it's possible he could cause another upset in the final. But he has done none of these things, so PMac's reasoning is completely groundless.

Come on, the last time this guy was in Spain he won three points in the first set he played against Ancic, then managed to blow a 5-3 final set lead and two matchpoints in the next round versus Pavel, and this was on indoor hard at high altitude in Madrid, not on slow clay in Seville with a vociferous crowd against him. Fish actually said in an interview last year that with his strengths and style of play, someone like Ferrero on a clay court is a very bad match-up for him. Yes, he was talking about Ferrero at peak 2003 form, but the latter still has an inherent class on clay that Fish is sorely lacking.

Roger-No.1
11-15-2004, 04:52 PM
I see what you mean. If after a number of attempts Vince thinks it is basically a lost cause, then it makes some sense to put this letter out there as a critique of the current coach and protocol for choosing DC players.


That's true, Mr. Q :)

alfonsojose
11-15-2004, 04:58 PM
Even Lindsay would play better on clay than Mardy :p

jtipson
11-18-2004, 05:38 PM
Bit of a turnaround: McEnroe has put Vince on the team for the DC final.

http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=11796&bannerregion=

alfonsojose
11-18-2004, 05:50 PM
Somebody is trying to save his job :tape:

Action Jackson
11-18-2004, 05:56 PM
I wonder if they take him there, and then he is just the hitting partner.

alfonsojose
11-18-2004, 06:15 PM
towel guy, massage guy, U.S. D.C. Team bitch, ... :o :lol: