February 4, 2014 by Parveer Mann
It wasn’t quite the Super Sports weekend we all expected either in tennis or football. The Super Bowl was basically decided by a botched opening snap that resulted in a safety and it only got worse for the Broncos after that. While Peyton Manning was struggling in MetLife, both North American countries had their own failures in Davis Cup matches that each was favourites in as early as last week.
Canada shows little without Raonic and Pospisil
The writing on the wall came early for the Canadian Davis Cup team when it was announced last Wednesday that Milos Raonic would be unable to suit up against Japan. If losing your best player to an ankle injury was not bad enough, fellow Davis Cup hero Vasek Pospisil was also scratched due to a back injury that had flared up in Australia.
So, it all fell on the unlikely pair of Frank Dancevic and Peter Polansky to somehow take at least two points in Japan against a team with a Top 20 opponent, Kei Nishikori. Even though, Dancevic hung tough on Day One beating Go Soeda, he and the Canadian team were up against it even before he had to withdraw in the fourth rubber.
I understand it’s a huge win for Japan (who advances to their first modern World Group QFs) but it’s also a missed opportunity for Canada. This was a team hoping to build on last year’s breakthrough and drawing Japan was seen as a huge break. However, much of Davis Cup is unfortunately dictated by who plays (look at Spain and Serbia who also lost) and this year Canada had no luck in that category.
Canada next plays in the World Group playoffs come September and are hoping to remain among the Top 16 for next year.
Murray leads Team GB in San Diego
It was a unique venue (Petco Park) and a peculiar surface choice (clay) but the result for the American men was eerily familiar. Even missing John Isner, it was quite shocking to see the manner in which the Americans lost. The wins by Andy Murray were predicted and nice to see as his presence in Davis Cup elevates the competition.
However, it will be the Sam Querrey collapse against James Ward that will haunt some of the most fervent observers. He seemingly lost his confidence up two sets and a break against the journeyman Ward and it was not pretty to see. I’ve always been impressed by Sam Querrey’s raw talent but his inability to stay healthy or overcome tight situations has relegated him to an also-ran most weeks.
It will be interesting to see if Coach Jim Courier addresses his team’s line up before the September playoffs and goes with the likes of Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock over the veterans.
Highlights of the Davis Cup Weekend
After so many withdrawals, it was both surprising and refreshing to see Roger Federer play Serbia this weekend. He seemed to be energized by his compatriot’s Australian Open win and committed last minute to play with Stan Wawrinka and his other Swiss teammates. This recommitment to Davis Cup will seemingly continue for Roger as he has announced his intentions to play against Kazakhstan in April.