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24 March 2011

Roddick homecoming as USA hosts Spain in Austin


Photo: Paul ZimmerAndy Roddick (USA)

Andy Roddick will be a happy man today, following the USTA’s formal announcement that the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group quarterfinal between USA and Spain will be held in the former world No.1’s hometown of Austin, Texas.

“I appreciate the USTA for even considering Austin,” said Roddick, speaking after his match winning performance against Chile earlier this month. “I think it’s been no secret that I have wanted it for a long time. It would be a dream come true to play at home.”

The heavyweight clash, taking place on 8-10 July, is being staged at the Frank Erwin Center on The University of Texas at Austin campus. It’s only the fifth occasion that the Americans have hosted a tie in Texas and the first time in Austin.

The last time Davis Cup came to Texas was in 2002 when, coincidentally, the opposition was Spain. The home side, who won that fixture 3-1 in Houston, will be hoping for a repeat performance nine years on.

The most famous tie in Texas, however, was undoubtedly the final in 1992. What many people believe as the greatest ever American team – Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and current captain Jim Courier – assembled to defeat Switzerland 3-1 in Fort Worth. A ten-year-old Roddick was a spectator on that occasion.

“We are excited to play in Austin as we have not hosted a tie in the U.S. for quite some time,” said Courier, who took charge of the American team for the first time against Chile. “We will be ready to use our crowd’s energy for what promises to be an exciting and challenging tie versus Spain.”

USA progressed to the last eight with a 4-1 victory over Chile in Santiago. Roddick handed the visitors the perfect start against Nicolas Massu, but Paul Capdeville struck back for Chile after John Isner blew a two-set lead.

The dependable duo of Bob and Mike Bryan got the Americans back on track with a routine doubles win, paving the way for Roddick to seal the vital third point against Capdeville.

Spain, led by world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, booked a quarterfinal spot by defeating Belgium 4-1. The Spanish dream team in Charleroi also included David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez.

USA holds a 5-4 head-to-head lead over Spain, but in those nine meetings only one has ended with an away victory. That result was in 1972 when Stan Smith secured a 3-2 triumph in the fifth rubber in Barcelona.

After both teams named full strength line-ups for their first round ties and with Roddick playing in front of his hometown fans, the next installment of the series between USA and Spain is a mouthwatering prospect.

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