Roddick Must Win Both his Singles Rubbers, says Courier
Andy Roddick will need to win both of his singles rubbers if the United States are to beat Spain in Seville. That is the view of Jim Courier, a man who knows what it takes to hit the victorious stroke in a Davis Cup by BNP Paribas final.
Courier, who defeated Jakob Hlasek to give the United States victory over Switzerland in the 1992 final, believes his country can win, but that it will not be easy.
“America has an extremely difficult task ahead of them in playing the final in Seville,” said Courier, who spent much of 1992 as the world’s No.1 player.
“The team that Spain will throw against us will be very comprehensive. There is no question, on the clay, that they are a superior team on paper. Andy Roddick is going to have to rise to the occasion. I believe that he needs to win both of his singles matches to stand a chance.”
The American also pointed to the strength of the United States doubles partnership between brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, and expects a point to come their way from that rubber.
“In the doubles we are the favourites, but that is no gimme either,” said Courier.
“In every other rubber we are the underdogs. It’s a great challenge, and I think all athletes like to have a great challenge in front of them. I think all of our players will rise to the occasion.
Some of Courier’s finest moments came in the Davis Cup. As well as his exploits in the 1992 final, he was also part of the victorious team that beat Russia in 1995.
He is perhaps best remembered, in Davis Cup terms, for his performances against Great Britain five years ago.
Facing Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski at the peak of their powers on a fast, indoor court in Birmingham, England, Courier wasn’t expected to stand a chance. With typical guts, determination and plenty of skill to go with it, the American defeated Henman 76(2) 26 76(3) 67(10) 75 in the first rubber, and then sealed the tie for his country by beating Rusedski 8-6 in the fifth set of the decider. It was one of the most extraordinary accomplishments seen in recent years.
Upon retirement, Courier spent a couple of years as his country’s coach, supporting current captain Patrick McEnroe.
The job of captain is also one that he aspires to..
“It’s pretty widely known that I would like to throw my name into the hat whenever Patrick McEnroe’s reign in America as Davis Cup captain comes to an end,” said Courier.
That won't be anytime before the end of 2006, after the USTA announced recemtly that it was extending McEnroe's contract until then.
“The Davis Cup is something that I have loved to participate in for many years. I have had some success as a player and would love to have some success as a captain.”
The American is not alone in that aspiration. These days he competes with many of his greatest rivals on the Delta Tour of Champions, and when he arrives in London for The Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall next week, he will face Thomas Muster and Mats Wilander, who both currently captain their nations’ teams.
“It’s a natural evolution for players of our calibre who have played at that level and really enjoyed the fruits of Davis Cup and been in the battle fields,” he said.
“It’s another way back into it and I would love to be part of that.”