Querrey not deterred by Davis Cup defeat
“We’re going to win it. We’ve definitely got a shot.”
Nothing negative about Sam Querrey. He may have returned from Belgrade as part of a defeated Davis Cup team, which means any plans for winning the Davis Cup will have to be put on hold for a year. But Querrey, along with his even taller colleague, John Isner, feels he has experienced the worst of what Davis Cup can bring as an American rookie and is now ready to take on the world.
“My first match was against Rafa Nadal when he was No. 1 in the world on clay in Spain and my second was against Novak Djokovic on clay in Serbia when he was No. 2 in the world,” Querrey points out. “Can’t come any tougher than that! But we were close in Belgrade. All the matches were close and we could have won. It was a great experience and we learned from it.”
For the kid from California who has grown into an imposing 6'-6'' giant, playing Davis Cup for his country has always been a dream. But he does find it difficult to explain what the competition is all about to tennis fans he meets.
“They don’t really understand how it works,” he says. “The separation between rounds makes it difficult to follow. I will play Davis Cup whatever the format is, but I do think it might be good to have two weeks set aside for a big World Group finals, involving eight teams. That would throw a focus on Davis Cup and give it more recognition.”
For those who find the format undecipherable, the United States — having lost in the first round of this year’s World Group — will play a relegation tie against as yet unknown opponents in September. Sixteen teams comprise the World Group, so there will be eight ties to determine who plays in the top tier in 2011 and who goes down to the Zonal divisions.
Meanwhile, for Spain, France, Serbia and the other first-round winners, the World Group quarterfinals will be played the week after Wimbledon in July and the semifinals after the U.S. Open in September. The final is set for the end of November.
In the meantime Querrey is setting his sights on giving it one more go on hardcourts here at the Sony Ericsson Open on Key Biscayne before switching to clay.
“I love clay,” says Querrey, uttering a phrase that you do not often hear fall from the lips of an American tennis player. “It suits my game. I’m comfortable on it. I will be starting in Houston next month and then going over to Europe to play on the red clay in Rome, Madrid, the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf and then Roland Garros. I’m looking forward to it.”
With that he went back into the courtside box where Bob and Mike Bryan, the doubles linchpin of the Davis Cup squad, were doing some promotional work for a company the three of them represent, BackOffice Associates.
Patrick McEnroe, now America’s longest serving Davis Cup captain, is lucky to have two young men like Querrey and Isner ready to step into the shoes of his singles stalwarts, Andy Roddick and James Blake. McEnroe led his squad to triumph over Russia in Portland, Oregon in 2007 by molding a bunch of youngsters into a potent and cohesive team. Now, with these two emerging, not only as dedicated Davis Cup campaigners but also fast friends, it seems McEnroe will have no trouble maintaining the team spirit that is so essential to success in this most demanding of competitions.