By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
Here are a few comments from Tuesday’s Davis Cup press conference:
— American Sam Querrey on this being a rematch of a 2010 win by Serbia: “We’re a better team now. All of us are playing better. We like our chances. I think if we play aggressively and play well we can win this tie. We’ve always been close, even outside of Davis Cup. We hang out a lot. We go to dinner. It’s a year-long thing.”
— American Mike Bryan, who played on the Idaho Sneakers World TeamTennis team with his brother Bob in 1999: “We’re happy to be back. This will be a little more big time than that.”
— U.S. captain Jim Courier said world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia only plays four events in the U.S. each year — tour stops in Indian Wells, Calif.; Miami and Cincinnati and the U.S. Open in New York. “That, in and of itself, for the casual sports fan makes (attending this tie) worthwhile,” he said. “It’s a chance to see our nation’s best players battling the world’s best in a really unique setting.”
— The Serbians joked, sort of, that Djokovic is a cross between Elvis Presley, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Tiger Woods in their country. “You cannot imagine how big it is,” teammate Viktor Troicki said. “Definitely the biggest sports person, biggest athlete, in our country’s history.”
— Djokovic on being No. 1: “I always dreamed of being No. 1 in the world. I always wanted for myself to be in this position and I’m trying to embrace every moment of the time spent in this position.”
Boise-area kids will get a chance to learn tennis at a young age for years to come as part of the Davis Cup visit to Boise.
The Davis Cup leaves behind a “legacy project,” one partly funded by proceeds from the event.
In Boise, the project will involve installing four QuickStart courts and resurfacing two full-size courts at Ann Morrison Park.
The courts, designed for children 8 and under, are 36 feet by 18 feet — or about one-quarter of a full-size court. Children use large foam balls that limit bounces to fit their height.
Idaho doesn’t have any of the courts right now.
“It will look just like an adult court, but it is miniaturized,” said Steve Bickham, executive director of USTA-Idaho. “The goal nationally with the USTA is to get enough of them that kids will feel comfortable going on a court by themselves and playing with each other. That’s how kids really learn.”
The total cost will be about $50,000, he said. That will be covered by the city of Boise, the USTA and USTA-Idaho.
The USTA sets up temporary QuickStart courts in gyms as part of its traveling elementary school program. The courts also will be used for tonight’s kids clinic at CenturyLink Arena (6-8 p.m.).
“It’s neat to see how quick they pick it up,” Bickham said. “I’ve got a 5-year-old and I can rally with him on these courts. The ball bounces the right height for them and it’s easy for them to swing. … We’re a little bit later coming to the party than the rest of the country.”
U.S. singles players John Isner and Sam Querrey are doubles partners on the ATP World Tour — giving the U.S. a pair of doubles teams on its four-man roster.
Isner and Querrey have two titles and three runner-up finishes on tour as partners.
Isner hasn’t reached a doubles final with anyone else since 2008.
“We’re just really good friends — that’s why we play doubles a lot,” Isner said. “It just so happens, if you look at my record, I only win with Sam. And I think that’s because I have the most fun with him.”
Still, they’re only the second-best tandem on the U.S. team. American twins Bob and Mike Bryan are No. 1 in the world.
“The one thing we have not done is beaten the Bryan brothers,” Isner said. “We’re like 0-for-10 against them.”
Bob Bryan clarified that it’s 0-7. Isner says he’s 0-12 against the Bryans with multiple partners.
This is Isner’s second home tie. The first was earlier this year in Jacksonville, Fla.
In his first six career ties, he played in Serbia, Colombia, Chile, Switzerland, France and Spain.
“That’s basically losing a coin flip (six) times in a row,” he said.
April 2: Americans Sam Querrey, John Isner have big opportunity
April 1: Spain’s first-round loss could benefit U.S.-Serbia winner
March 31: Science played a role in getting the Davis Cup to Boise.
March 26: Jim Courier a natural to lead U.S.
March 26: Teams named for Boise tie
Feb. 14: Davis Cup coming to Boise
April 1: Check out John Isner’s serve and Taco Bell Arena’s tennis look
Friday: 1 p.m. Sam Querrey (U.S.) vs. Viktor Troicki (Serbia), John Isner (U.S.) vs. Novak Djokovic (Serbia). Match order determined at Thursday draw ceremony.
Saturday: 12:30 p.m. Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (U.S.) vs. Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia).
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. Querrey vs. Djokovic, Isner vs. Troicki. Matches will go in that order.
Note: Matches/Tennis Channel coverage begin a half-hour after official start times.
Single-day tickets range in price from $35 to $175. Three-day packages remain available, starting at $90. Tickets are available at idahotickets.com, at the Taco Bell Arena box office and by phone (888-484-8782).
Davis Cup glossary
Davis Cup: The international team tennis competition began in 1900 as a duel between the U.S. and Great Britain. Four Harvard tennis players created the concept and one of them, Dwight Davis, designed the format and bought a trophy. More countries joined the competition in 1905, it grew to include 20-plus in the 1920s and 50 in 1969. The current format began in 1981.
World Group: The Davis Cup received entries from 130 nations in 2013, making it the largest annual international team competition in sports. Only 16, including the U.S. and Serbia this year, compete in the World Group — the top level. The eight first-round losers drop into playoffs against winners of the Zone Groups to determine which nations move up to the World Group and which fall out for the next year.
Tie: A Davis Cup matchup between two nations. It’s a best-of-five format — four singles matches and one doubles match. Matches are best-of-five sets with no tiebreaker in the fifth set. After the tie has been clinched, matches become best-of-three.
Rubber: Each match in a tie is called a rubber.
Live/dead rubber: A live rubber is one played while the tie is still in doubt. A dead rubber is one played after one team has clinched the victory.
Choice of ground: The host nation decides the site and playing surface for a tie. Nations alternate hosting, so the U.S. is at home this week because it played at Serbia the last time the teams met. If two teams haven’t met since 1970, the host is determined by lot.
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