Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sweet home, Alabama (I hope!)

The latest from the world of Davis Cup is that the U.S. will be hosting Switzerland in my home state of Alabama, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena in Birmingham. It's the first time 'Bama is hosting a Davis Cup match.

I've been kind of excited about this tie since the draw for next year was announced. Truth be told, though, I'm a little worried. I mean Switzerland does have that Roger Federer guy on its team and we all know how he gets down. Plus, with he and Stan Wawrinka playing a pretty mean game of doubles (having beaten the Bryans on the way to the Gold in Beijing) that makes the match-up even more scary.

But aside from Switzerland's lineup, I'm a little worried about a tie being hosted in Alabama. Unless things have changed since I lived there, I can't recall any section of the state being a hotbed of tennis activity, unless, I guess, you count where I'm from, Mobile, which has one of the country's largest public facilities. I don't think many in-state fans will be willing to trek there, but hopefully some will come in from Tennessee to make the place pretty rowdy. I mean, this is as good a first-round tie the U.S. could ask to host. It would be a shame to see thousands of empty seats while I'm watching it in New York.

Something else that comes to mind when thinking about this tie: Who does the U.S. pick? I guess Patrick McEnroe's first inclination would be to throw out Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan brothers. It'll all depend on who's really in form. But let me throw this out at you: When was the last time an American male has been hot for more than a couple of weeks? Blake in the summer of '07? I don't think any of the guys had a decent streak going last year. So that even adds more pressure to the situation.

Anyway, I hope plenty of fans come out to show some Southern hospitality because the U.S. is facing a tough-enough task as it is. It could be even rougher with no fans out there.

(Photo: AP)


hcfoo said...

I'm too thinking why Alabama?

Personally I'm never too confident about the Roger & Stani team or Stani's individual performance. It's 50-50 of who's going to win.

I'm taking this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Merry X'mas and a Happy New YEar :D !

freakyfrites said...

Hi Van!

First of all, I'd like to wish you and yours a happy holiday season. And congrats on a kick-butt year of blogging!

Secondly (or is it thirdly?) I'm SHOCKED that the USTA didn't pick Texas. I though San Antonio was a SHOE IN. Maybe the organization is saving it for the final (assuming the US makes it there, again, and it's on home turf?) But Alabama is kind of a cool, unexpected pick. Hopefully there will be plenty of fans packing the stands (are you going to be there?)