“End of an era” as Roddick and Blake opt to skip DC
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:52
Andy Roddick and James Blake will not represent the US in the Davis Cup first round tie against Serbia, ending the duo’s nine years of consistent service to the national squad.
World No.7 Roddick and Blake, who turned 30 just over a week ago, have both made the decision to drop Davis Cup duties from their 2010 schedules, leaving captain Patrick McEnroe – who gave both men their debuts in 2001 – with a new selection headache ahead of the season’s opening tie in March.
It certainly appears to be the end of era,” admitted McEnroe. “But the door will always remain open to both of those guys in the event they decide they want to play again.
“Andy has always put it on the line for the USA in Davis Cup – he’s a legitimate icon” – Patrick McEnroe
One of or both Roddick and Blake have featured in each of the past 25 ties for the US, leading the team to the 2007 title with a win in the final over Russia at home and restoring the reputation of the competition’s founding nation to attract the top players following the sporadic appearances from Pete Sampras and other top Americans during the 1990s.
27-year-old Roddick’s 31-11 singles record is second only to John McEnroe, who posted 41 wins from 49 rubbers during his career. Blake’s record, including a handful of doubles appearances, is a combined 21-12.
“Andy has always put it on the line for the USA in Davis Cup,” McEnroe added. “His record of loyalty and his results speak for themselves. He’s a legitimate Davis Cup icon with his 31 singles wins.
“Nobody appreciates what Andy has done more than I do, having been his captain for almost a decade.”
The captain was similarly thankful for the service of Blake, who “has played every possible role on the team, from practice partner to doubles and singles player. He’s always been there, ready to do whatever he’s been asked.”
In the wake of the duo’s decision, Sam Querrey, John Isner and Mardy Fish have emerged as the front-runners to step in to represent the US in the singles rubbers against Serbia, who will hope to call on Novak Djokovic for the tie, set to be played on slow red clay.
Bob and Mike Bryan are expected to remain an integral part of the Davis Cup set-up, and their role as the elder statesmen of the team will be even more crucial to the squad’s success now in Roddick and Blake’s absence.
“Bob and Mike have played an enormous role in our success over the years, and they demonstrate the enormous value a good doubles team represents in Davis Cup,” McEnroe said.
“They’re such dyed in the wool Davis Cup players that they’ll provide a great example for the younger players coming into the pipeline. Nobody gets more pumped up for Davis Cup than the Bryans.”