| Andy Roddick will cut down on ATP meets before Cup weekends
Bratislava: The American young guns fired a warning shot to their Davis Cup rivals as they pledged to bring back the trophy to the United States in 2004.
Champions a record 31 times, the US were consigned to contest a play-off tie over the weekend against the Slovakians after they were handed a surprise 1-4 hammering by Croatia in the World Group first round in February.
Led by 21-year-olds Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish, the Americans retained their place in next year’s elite group of 16 with a 3-2 victory and are determined to win the title next year.
“We’re back in it. We are in it to win and I think we can,” said US captain Patrick McEnroe.
Although Australia and Spain will contest this year’s final in November, Roddick said winning the team competition was one of his main priorities next season and was prepared to cut back on his ATP commitments to do so.
“If I feel I’m playing too much tennis, I’ll cut back on some of the smaller tournaments before the Davis Cup (weekends),” the world No. 2 said after clinching the tie for the US with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Karol Beck on Sunday. “I’ll definitely be playing (in the Cup) next year.”
The US have long been a tennis powerhouse but have struggled in recent years as top players turned down the chance to represent their country for a variety of reasons.
Their last title came in 1995 when Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Todd Martin led the team to a 3-2 defeat of Russia. This year’s squad was missing Andre Agassi but US Open champion Roddick, Fish, James Blake and the doubles team of twins Bob and Mike Bryan breathed new life into their campaign.
While Roddick showed his poise by rebounding from a tough loss to Dominik Hrbaty in the opening singles on Friday, Fish displayed his fighting instincts with a four-set victory over Karol Kucera which levelled the tie 1-1. The Bryan brothers kept the US in the hunt with their victory on Saturday, leaving Roddick to secure the win on Sunday.
With a nucleus of rising and talented players, non-playing captain McEnroe was confident the team would be able to build on the weekend’s success. “We’d love to get a couple of home matches (next year), I wouldn’t mind us playing in the States, on the surface of our choosing,” McEnroe said.
“But now that we’ve proven that we can, with these guys, win on the road, I like our chances.”