It's that time again! The Red White and Blue will be looking for the three Ds; Defend home soil, Defeat 2010 Champion Serbia, and Dominate the world number 1 Novak Djokovic. If they fail to do any of these three things, it will be tough for the USA to advance into the Semi-finals of the Davis Cup.
Novak Djokovic is coming off the North American hard court season with no titles, which hasn't happened since 2010. Some say that this is hope for the Americans as Novak has shown vulnerability these past couple of tournaments. Others would argue and ask, "who holds the last major?" Whatever is the case, he would be an extremely tough out for the US. Let's take a look at the host site and the match ups of this year's 2013 Quarterfinal round.
The Host Site
The Americans have chosen Boise, Idaho as the site to keep their Davis Cup titles alive. The altitude, 2,871 above sea level, along with its indoor properties, will allow the ball to travel faster through the court. The Americans see this as a huge advantage as they have the ace leader of the ATP in John Isner and another big server in Sam Querrey. The Serbs will be hoping for a great return performance to neutralize the American fire power.
Novak Djokovic vs John Isner
The first match is usually the catalyst for a Davis Cup tie. This could not be any truer in this case. Big John Isner will be looking to continue being the Davis Cup hero for the Americans. He was able to take out the Greatest player of all time, Federer, on his home soil, and now he will be looking to take out the best player in the world today in Novak Djokovic. Novak is coming off Indian Wells and Miami empty handed for the first time since 2010. He will be eager to put his team up 1-0 and in route to the semifinals of Davis Cup. Novak will also be looking for some personal revenge from the last time these two played, Indian Wells 2010 semifinal where John Isner upset the world's number 1. Expect a tough match, where if the US wins, it would give them a huge advantage going into the second rubber and the weekend matches.
Sam Querrey vs Viktor Troicki
Sam will be eager to give the US a 2-0 lead or to get them back even at 1 before the Saturday doubles tie. He has put himself back into the top 20 ATP playing well in 2013. He has also beaten Troicki in Davis Cup before back in 2010. Sam should benefit from the fast courts in Idaho and should keep the US in front or in the running before the weekend!
Bob & Mike Bryan v Ilija Bozoljac & Nenad Zimonjic
Bob an Mike are coming into Boise with a HUGE chip on their shoulders. They lost their first Davis Cup tie match last round for the first time since 2008. This loss put the hopes of the US advancing in real jeopardy, and the twins want none of it again. They will be facing Ilija Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic. The Serb duo will try to give the Americans fits as Zimonjic has been an enigma for the American team in the past. Expect a battle as Zimonjic has always played the twins well, but the better team should take this one!
Sam Querrey v Novak Djokovic
Sam has made his way back to the top 20 in the world after a very difficult 2012 full of injuries. As the top American (#20 in the world), Sam will be looking to carry the Stars and Stripes to victory. He has not had the best of luck against the best player in the world with a 1-5 head-to-head record with the only victory coming indoors in Paris Masters last year. These two top players have met in the Davis Cup format before, the 2010 tie won by Djokovic and Serbia in Belgrade. The match can come down to this final match, putting extra pressure on both Querrey and Djokovic. The hopes to move to the Semifinals can rest on the shoulders of these two players.
John Isner v Viktor Troicki
Big John has had mixed results this year, but looks to be back in the swing of things. Troicki has had a tough 2013 only winning four of his first 11 matches this year. This is a good sign for the Americans and for Big John as the match might come down to the numbers twos for each country. Viktor Troicki has had a solid head-to-head record against the 6'9" American, 3-1. They faced each other in Belgrade in 2010 in the same format where the Serb defended his home turf and allowed Serbia to advance into the next stage of the World Group. John Isner will be looking to do the same in Idaho on Sunday, advancing his American squad into the semifinals of the Davis Cup. With Josh's stock on the rise, along with a fast environment, and Troicki on the fall, expect John to win the tie for the American squad!
Look for the Americans to click on all cylenders. They have the surface, the environment, and the personal to pull of the upset. The Serbs need to return extremely well and count on more than just their number one player. This match should come down all the way to the fifth rubber with the tie resting on the shoulders of John Isner and Viktor Troicki.
The other day, a colleague and dear friend of mine invited me to observe his practice session with two of his players. As I entered the building, I saw all eight courts at this particular facility full. All kinds of lessons were going on; private lessons, group lessons and semi-privates. It was a good sight, so many juniors in one location in attempts to perfect their craft. As good as it was to see these courts full of players, my eyes started to shift to one particular court.
Forehands hit crisply cross court, then backhands, a slice was thrown in from time to time escape the defensive position and a volley to finish the point; an actual, well-constructed tennis point was being played. The beauty of it was that it wasn't just one, it was MANY! I took the one available seat to
ACE players were back at it again last weekend sending nine of its players to Griffith, IN for their second tournament of the young season. Our players played extremely well, displaying an improvement on the skills they have obtained and solidified since our last tournament.
Going into the tournament, our players have focused hard on developing their offensive strategy. They have worked hard on an Open-Court strategy which will allow them to spread the court out in their favor. Changing direction on the ball and hitting while moving are two of the hardest things to do in tennis. If a player is able to make their opponent do both, then he/she really puts themselves in a great position to win points. Our players were instructed in this and they executed the strategy to a T!
When our players came off court, whether they won or loss, their opponents were tired! They faced players who made them worked extremely hard for every single point. This is the reputation we want our players to develop; hard workers who make their opposition scratch and fight for every single point in the match. This reputation will transcend into other matches and tournaments as opponents will know they will have to work extremely hard if they face an ACE player.
Great job this weekend players and look forward to our next tournament!