Seriously, all involved in this weekend's ties deserve a major
It's been an almost ridiculously competitive Round 1, with some incredible matches, amazing efforts from individuals and players overcoming various personal challenges. It's been an embarrassment of great tennis. I don't think anyone out there has given less than their best effort, even coming up short.
Well deserved mentions go to:
Kristof Vliegen - a heroic win over Hewitt in 5 sets, 4hrs 50 minutes, then winning the crucial 5th rubber to send Belgium through
Lleyton Hewitt - an equally heroic win over a resurgent Ollie Rochus to keep Australia alive, in 4 hours +
The German team - Excellent performances from Haas, and Kohlman/Waske to contain Ancic and Ljubicic, who both fought very hard even if they were below par this weekend.
Mergea and Tecau of Romania for defeating Clement/Llodra 11-9 in the fifth in 4 hours 37 mins
Igor Andreev, for dismantling Gonzalez to give Russia a surprising 2-0 lead in the tie, and then winning the crucial live 5th rubber in their opponents' back yard.
Massu and Gonzalez for responding superbly to level the tie, especially Gonzalez shrugging off that singles loss to defeat Safin in straight sets
Andy Roddick, for claiming his 2 points on clay away from home, defeating heavy favourite Berdych in the process - excellent result for him
Marco Chiudinelli for a totally EPIC performance against Spain all weekend, defeating Verdasco, Ferrer in the dead 5th rubber, and coming so close with Yves Allegro to winning the doubles, going down 10-12 in the fifth in just shy of 5 hours. He's a hero.
Robin Soderling for stepping up and showing his class against Belarus, winning his 2 points, including a hard-fought 4 hour 5 set win over Miryi
Juan Martin del Potro, for winning his first DC rubber, a live rubber, winning a five set match for the first time, and winning the tie for Argentina - way to debut for your country.
Mentions too, to Acasuso and a returning Cañas for getting the first 2 points with excellent performances on Friday, making a potentially tricky tie suddenly look easy.
And well done to everyone else - win or lose. It's been an amazing weekend of DC tennis.
Gentlemen, we salute you all for an incredible weekend of tennis