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06 December 2013

Courier: USA v Great Britain is "going to be special"


NEWS ARTICLE

Photo: Corinne DubreuilJim Courier (USA) and John Isner (USA)

Amid all the excitement of the Davis Cup draw back in September there was one tie that stood out for the very singular reason that it pitted the first two nations to ever compete in the competition against one another.

One hundred and fourteen years after Dwight Davis and co won the first-ever Davis Cup tie at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston, USA will once again host Great Britain in what should be a notable tie for more than just its historic significance.

One of the reasons the tie will draw attention from around the world will be down to its fantastic venue - the USTA has opted to play at Petco Park which is usually the home of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.

“I think it's going to be a special site,” said Courier. “I think the players and the fans are going to really enjoy that environment. I've only seen a tennis court set up in a baseball stadium one time back in Toronto, in 1990, an indoor tournament there.

“To play outside in nice weather in San Diego in February against a great team like Great Britain, with all the history with the US playing against Great Britain in Davis Cup, I think it's going to be a special moment for everyone involved.”

The American skipper is under no illusion of the challenge that awaits his team when the visitors make the trip across the Atlantic not least because the British charge is expected to be led by world No. 4 Andy Murray.

Courier explained: “You have to assume that Murray is going to be very, very difficult to play no matter what surface you play him on. So you look to the other elements there, the doubles, the second singles. On paper we have a big advantage in those slots.

“We're certainly going to be underdogs against Murray no matter where we play him. But clay is a surface that all four of our guys wanted to play this tie on, so that's why we're doing it.”

It makes sense that the US team consider themselves favourites to win the doubles rubber as well as the two singles rubbers against whoever is the British No. 2, but it is more surprising that the hosts felt clay was the way to go when it is traditionally their least favoured surface.

“The process was a team decision where Jay Berger [the US Davis Cup coach] and I talked to our key players,” said Courier. “Clay was what we came to as a best chance against those guys, knowing full well they're going to be tough on any surface we play them on. So it was a group decision.”

Courier added: “Our guys, unlike a lot of American teams in the past, are quite comfortable on clay, have good results on clay, so that's what we're going to go with in San Diego.”

Perhaps it was a ploy to win three out of five rubbers, but the fact that British No. 1 Murray has a career win-loss record of 1-11 against Top 10 players on clay must have played its part in the thought process of the United States.

Whether the tie goes according to plan remains to be seen but what is sure is that the drama of the competition lives on 114 years after that first encounter.

The tie between USA and Great Britain takes place in San Diego from January 31-February 2. Tickets go on sale on Friday December 6 at 8pm GMT (12noon PST). Call +1 888-484-8782 for more information.

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