Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole!: A Davis Cup Notebook


NOTHING LIKE IT: There’s nothing quite like the recent string of Spanish Davis Cup ties at home on clay courts with banners waving, trumpets blaring, drums pounding: thundersticks and ecstasy. The Spaniards unle

ashed a joyous red-and-gold happening that combined nationalistic pride and relentless feel-good joy.

GO FIGURE: Fernando Verdasco, who’s ranked No. 9, didn’t crack Spain’s starting lineup in singles. But that’s nothing, Tommy Robredo, who’s ranked No. 16, didn’t even make the team.

FANTASTIC MR. FERRER: Not only did David Ferrer win his critical marathon match against Radek Stepanek 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 8-6, he took the legs out of the Czech star, who at best offered a tired performance in doubles the next day.

NOT EXACTLY CLUTCH: Down 2-0 in matches and 2-0 in sets in doubles, Tomas Berdych [a career underachiever] promptly lost his serve and muffed three more-than-makeable forehand volleys to give the Spaniards a break in the decisive third set.

JUST WONDERING: Are Verdasco/Feliciano Lopez the best all-lefty doubles team since Johnny Mac teamed up with Aussie Mark Woodforde?…Will Roger Federer play Davis Cup this February when the Swiss are scheduled to make the most brutal road trip in Davis Cup these days — a journey to the clay of Spain? After all, he and Davis Cup partner Stanislaus Wawrinka (the duo that won the Olympic doubles in Beijing in ’08) are probably as formidable an opponent for the Spaniards as tennis can produce…Which nation will step up to dethrone the dynastic Spaniards, who have now won two Davis Cups in a row and four in this decade?

UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE MONTH: As the ecstatic Spaniards were about to clinch their Davis Cup victory, the Tennis Channel noted, “A party awaits tonight in Barcelona.”

RADEK, NOT RODDICK: Since Andy Roddick‘s historic loss to Federer in the Wimbledon final, it’s been Radek (Stepanek) not (Andy) Roddick who’s been creating waves in tennis. The curious serve-and-volley Czech vet with adept hands, who used his shotmaking skills to bring down power server Ivo Karlovic in a memorable marathon Davis Cup semi in Croatia, put up a brave but doomed effort in Barcelona against the Spaniards.