Sunday, February 8, 2009
Howzabout that Team USA!
In case you missed it, the U.S. team rallied from 2-1 down to eke out the win against Argentina 3-2 in their quarterfinal matchup. And if you missed this tie, you can't really be blamed because there were no big names to speak of. The highest-ranked player out there this weekend was Argentina's Gisela Dulko at 44. However, a true team effort from Jill Craybas, Melanie Oudin, Julie Ditty and Liezel Huber got them through.
Now I wrote something a few weeks ago lamenting the state of U.S. women's professional tennis, and it still deserves lamenting. But I'm not going to do that now as the women came up big sans any top 50 players on the squad. As a matter of fact, I have an idea. Mary Joe, I hope you're reading because here goes:
A few years ago, when Patrick McEnroe took over the Davis Cup captaincy, he decided not to go the route of begging Andre Agassi or Todd Martin to play every tie, but rather decided to go with a youth movement, which included Andy Roddick and James Blake. And believe it or not, the Bryan brothers practically had to beg to play, even though they were among the best doubles teams in the world. McEnroe didn't want to throw dubs specialists out there in case he needed an extra singles player. I remember him saying something to the effect of, "Well, it's not like the Bryans have won Slams." You can't tell me that didn't light a fire under old Mike and Bob for their careers going forward.
So in other words, MJ, why not go with a youth movement? Don't beg the Williams sisters or an on-again, off-again Lindsay Davenport to come out. Let the kids play! Give Oudin, CoCo Vandeweghe, Christina McHale and Asia Muhammad something to fight for. That can only help their careers and build a foundation for U.S. women's tennis. (Not to knock the veterans who came through this weekend.)
I think it worked out good for the Bryan brothers, Blake and Roddick.