By Sandra Harwitt in Boise
The city of Boise is definitely going bonkers for Davis Cup.
The whole community seems involved in the upcoming weekend and have already started coming out to Davis Cup-related events before even one of the official balls has been hit in competition.
On Tuesday, over 300 children came to the Century Link Arena to the U.S. Davis Cup Team Welcome and Family Event hosted by the city of Boise. The American squad - Sam Querrey, John Isner, Bob and Mike Bryan, and captain Jim Courier - played tennis with the kids while others watched the show from nearby seats.
On Wednesday, fans lined up to come to an open afternoon U.S. team practice at the Taco Bell Arena.
The local news have been leading their newscasts with Davis Cup reports and information all week long.
American tennis fans have been known to root outside of the American players, but Courier isn’t anticipating that will happen this weekend in Boise.
“I’ve never seen American fans cheer for the other side in a Davis Cup match,” Courier said. “Certainly in other tournaments, absolutely. I think there will be a pretty vocal Serbian audience as well. We’ve seen them around Boise this week.
If the U.S. crowd is a little unsure early, if the Serbian crowd is doing their normal job, which is to be vocal for their team, I expect our fans will probably respond.”
Benevolence & Tennis Go Hand-In-Ha
By Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires
The terrible floods in and around Buenos Aires and the provincial capital La Plata that have claimed more than 50 lives over the last few days have been a source of expressions of solidarity on the part of the French team and their entourage towards the Argentine people on occasion of their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie this weekend.
At every Davis Cup function in the capital - the official dinner on Wednesday and Thursday’s draw - members of both teams have expressed their horror for what has happened. Argentines Juan Monaco and David Nalbandian asked fans to bring donations such as food, water, and clothes, when they come to the tie starting at Parque Roca on Friday.
It’s a dramatic situation and from where we are with the lads it occurred to us that each one should turn up with food, or anything to multiply the gestures of solidarity that we’re seeing all around,” said Nalbandian, during the press conference at the official draw.
The Argentines will be playing for their passionate fans, as they always have, and also for the entire country. Add to that the feel good factor that’s overtaken Argentina since the appointment of Pope Francis, who hails from Argentina, and France may be facing a lot more than just a tennis team that on paper are underdogs.
Monaco, who is from La Plata, the worst affected city from the floods, had this to say: “From the sporting side we’ll try to give people some happiness, however small, but the most important thing is for those affected to be able to recover their lives.”
Western Canada’s Finest Davis Cup Heroes
By Jeff Paterson in Vancouver
As the members of both the Canadian and Italian teams gathered for Thursday’s
draw ahead of this weekend’s Davis Cup quarterfinal, they were surrounded by 100 years of Davis Cup history on Canada’s west coast.
The draw was conducted at the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame which is housed at BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver and among the distinguished inductees are five members of past Canadian Davis Cup teams beginning with the first one exactly a century ago.
Bernie Schwengers (inducted in 1966) was part of Canada’s inaugural Davis Cup entry in 1913 and represented the country in four ties. Fellow 1966 inductee Jack Wright took part in 14 ties for Canada starting in 1923. Lorne Main (1949) was a member of Canada’s Davis Cup team from 1949 to 1955 then had the opportunity to serve as captain from 1958-61.
Grant Connell (1999) represented Canada in 21 Davis Cup ties beginning in 1987 and served as honorary captain for the team during the 2012 World Group stage quarterfinal versus France. And Tony Bardsley (2007) proudly wore Canadian colours for seven ties starting in 1972.
All five men either hailed from Canada’s westernmost province or have lived significant portions of their lives here. All are deserving of their places in the provincial sports hall of fame. And it’s fitting that they all had this opportunity to be a part of one more Davis Cup competition in this unique way.
By Sandra Harwitt in Boise
The Serbian team had a special visitor earlier in the week here in Boise, Idaho.
Very Rev. Archimandrite NekTarios (Serfes), a Greek Orthodox priest, came to see Novak Djokovic & Co.
The priest, who lives in Boise, is the President of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA. Through the years he’s continually raised money to help people of Kosovo, who have suffered from attacks and violence in the city.
The team members seem to know of a number of the monasteries that have received help from the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA.
As for fans, Boise is not the easiest place to get to, but the Serbians will have at least one section of the arena with loyalists rooting for them in the stands this weekend.