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Here’s what it looks like when U.S. Davis Cup player John Isner’s serving at you


John Isner serving

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

Boise State’s Taco Bell Arena has been transformed into a tennis stadium for the week.

The Davis Cup teams from the U.S. and Serbia began practice in the arena Sunday. The tie runs Friday-Sunday, with two singles matches Friday and Sunday and a doubles match Saturday.

I’ll be blogging about the Davis Cup here all week. Below, you’ll find links to Davis Cup information and links to all of our stories.

The tennis court is considered a hard court but it’s nothing like your usual outdoor court. It’s 44 thin strips of hard rubber placed on top of the arena floor. It’s painted with a mixture of paint, sand and water that gives the surface its speed.

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Taco Bell Arena's setup for the Davis Cup

Taco Bell Arena’s setup for the Davis Cup

This is the same court used for the first-round tie in Jacksonville, Fla. It was manufactured by Premier Court in Baltimore.

The court comes in 6-foot rolls that run horizontally across the court. You can see the seams but they shouldn’t affect play.

“It looks like a mouse pad,” Derek Fisher, the director of team events for the USTA, said of the court’s pieces. “… It plays exactly like an outdoor hard court.”

The court fits nicely in the basketball court’s footprint. Only two rows of seats at each end were retracted.

•••

Here’s what U.S. team member John Isner had to say about playing in Boise after his practice session this morning:

“The arena is beautiful, I think, and on top of that I think Boise as a city is very beautiful. Never been here. I’m a fan. It kind of reminds me a little bit of Athens, Ga., where I went to school. … Altitude, it suits us pretty well. It doesn’t hurt (Serbia) by any means. But myself and Sam (Querrey) and the Bryan brothers (Bob and Mike), we’re big hitters for the most part. We’re going for our shots and the altitude is going to help the ball fly through the air a little quicker.”

•••

And here are some comments from U.S. team member Sam Querrey, who lives in Las Vegas and will have a strong family contingent in the stands:

“It’s really cool — great stadium. It’s going to be a great crowd, so we’re looking forward to it. … I’m not sure how I choose the venues, but I’m glad it’s here.”

•••

Here is a photo gallery from today’s practice.

•••

OUR STORIES

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

RESOURCES

Schedule
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.

Tickets
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.

ON THE WEB

Davis Cup
U.S. Davis Cup
ATP World Tour


Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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