Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Dropped" shot

If you've been a regular reader of this site for a while, then you know that my favorite sporting event is the Davis Cup. I often set my alarm clock for the wee hours of the morning to watch Team USA play first-round ties if necessary. Them winning last year was the highlight of my year sports-wise (especially with my New York Jets going 4-12)!

Anyway, there's a story on the Interwebs saying that James Blake was "dropped" from the team for the semifinal tie against Spain for Sam Querrey. And my reaction to this is, "huh"?

They actually "dropped" him? If the story said "replaced due to injury" I wouldn't have any questions, but to phrase it like that? Granted, he lost early at the Open, but I wouldn't think his form is that bad. Here's what I'm left to wonder:

• Did he refuse to skip Mardy Fish's wedding, if it is, in fact, around that time? But wait, isn't Andy Roddick in the wedding party, too?

• Is Blake a mental mess right now due to the Olympics?

• If the above is the case, did he beg Patrick McEnroe off the team? But then, wouldn't they have given some blanket statement, like "Blake injured himself at practice." You know, cover it up? Or did P-Mac take it upon himself to evaluate JB and "drop" him? That's within his rights as team captain, but I think it's totally unfounded.

• Is it the fact that it's on clay? Blake's no world-beater on the stuff, but his results this year are better than Querrey's.

• Is P-Mac playing to the altitude in Madrid and just looking for the biggest servers he can find? I think this is probably the most likely, but I also think JB would do just as well on a fast clay court as Querrey.

If someone has the answers, PLEASE let me know!

**UPDATE: HeyHeyHey stirred me to an ESPN story with quotes from P-Mac saying that James asked off the team. That's a lot clearer than what was originally posted. I think Team USA's chances have gotten slimmer, but you never really know. Weird things happen in Davis Cup!

(Photo: AP)


heyheyhey said...

That's what I thought, too. Then i went over to espn's site & the headline used the word "replaced". That makes much more sense. Then any reason could be given. Knowing Pat Mac, it's probably a mutual decision between he and James.

As usual, it's some idiot media person trying to create a story that probably has no merit, or not much. Kind of like how a legal NFL hit turned "dirty" because Tom Brady was the one hit. How dumb do they think we are???

van said...

Hey, heyheyhey. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I have to agree with you; that was such a loaded headline, when it turns out Blake just asked off because he was tired. That's pretty weak and it's a shame to see.

Shelia said...

"MADRID, Spain (AP) — James Blake was left off the defending champion U.S. Davis Cup team because of exhaustion and replaced by Sam Querrey on Tuesday.

Querrey was chosen ahead of Blake for the best-of-five series against Spain on outdoor clay Sept. 19-21 in Madrid.

Andy Roddick and doubles specialists Bob and Mike Bryan round out the U.S. team selected by captain Patrick McEnroe.

"James is just exhausted physically and mentally after a grueling summer," McEnroe said. "He said he needed a break and we respect that. This is also a great opportunity for Sam, who has had a solid year, strong results on clay and has been a loyal practice partner for this team."

Hey Van,

This is what the AP is reporting, and I can very easily see it. It's probably a good thing. He looked so weak in that Fish quarterfinal.

van said...

Thanks Sheila! That first story I saw was so confusing. I think McEnroe would have been wrong to drop him for Querrey, even though Sam did get a round further at the Open. But yeah, he looked weak from the first match on. I still wish he was playing in the Davis Cup, though. I guess the team will have to make do.

hcfoo said...

IMHO, the US team perhaps stand a better chance by replacing Blake with Sam Q.

I mean Sam improved so much this year. He reached the quarterfinal at Monte Carlo defeating players like Moya and Gasquet. Although he didn't made it through the first round at the French Open, it is because he was beaten by Federer.

With the Bryan twins for dubs, Ferrer's inconsistency, Rafa's fatigue, the US team might have a chance here.

freakyfrites said...

Hey Van, Just posted something similar. I love Davis Cup, too! Who do you think is the fave in Russia vs. Argentina???

Anonymous said...

tennis week also reported that blake pulled out due to exhaustion: http://www.tennisweek.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=6618021.

this development seems like an affront to PMac in light of his strong comments in his press conference on 9/4 where he defended his choice of blake over ginepri and querrey (http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2008-09-04/200809041220558067671.html) this interview has a lot of candid comments from PMac about why blake was the best choice. whoops!

i read speculation somewhere that james has a lot of points to defend in the upcoming tournaments and probably wants to save himself for those matches to protect his ranking and fight for a spot at the masters cup.

my first instinct was to be annoyed, but blake has been so devoted to davis cup that he's earned the benefit of the doubt on this decision. there must be other factors in play for him to skip a davis cup tie. oh well. break out the rosary beads! go USA!

Jodi said...

Be grateful that you guys actually have a prayer... as an Australian, it's going to be cringeworthy to watch our team get destroyed by Chile, which means we're going to get relegated for ANOTHER year...

The USA/Spain tie should be really exciting - it's going to be 3-2, but I couldn't tell you which way!