Davis Cup

Eliot Teltscher, Gene Mayer, Captain Arthur Ashe, John McEnroe, and Peter Fleming. Team USA won its 28th Davis Cup title over France in Grenoble.

Team USA. 1982 Davis Cup Champions

Andy Taylor announced his first Davis Cup Tie at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut back in 2004. Since then, he’s traveled the country to lend his voice to the ceremonial sport presentation behind each home based Davis Cup Tie. Click the links to the right (or below on mobile devices) for more in-depth coverage, audio and video from each Davis Cup event.

Delray Beach, Charleston, Los Angeles, La Jolla, Rancho Mirage, Winston-Salem, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Boise, San Diego, Chicago…The ultimate highlight came in 2007 when Andy Roddick, James Blake, and the Bryan Brothers became Davis Cup Champions, defeating Russia in Portland, Oregon.

Davis Cup Champions. Portland, Oregon. 2007

For three magical days in December 2007, Team USA packed Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the Rose Quarter and captured the Davis Cup title the first time in 12-years. Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan Brothers absolutely dominated the Russians in the Final – and as you can see from the videos above, it was an overwhelmingly emotional accomplishment for American tennis.

My two favorite Davis Cup memories from Portland

First, during the official dinner on Sunday night, I got a chance to see a 22-year-old John Isner stumble through “the team speech” – a right-of-passage for rookie hitting partners with Team USA. Before John nervously took the stage, the rest of the team handed him a fist-full of words and ridiculous phrases printed on tiny slips of paper. His responsibility? To individually pull out each piece of paper during the speech and meaningly work the words and phrases into his presentation. It was brutally hysterical. John was brilliant. I just wish I had the brain capacity to remember some of the phrases he was forced to say.

Then there was the “Mardy Fish Moment” during the dinner. I wrote about this after interviewing Mardy on court at the 2015 US Open:

He’s pure class. I haven’t run into Mardy since 2007 when the US Davis Cup Team won the title in Portland, Oregon. At the time, Mardy wasn’t in the mix, but he was on the bench, selflessly supporting his buddies Bob, Mike, Andy and James. After the win, at the official dinner, the USTA brought me in to voice-over a few of the evening’s events and activities. I was tucked away in the back, but when Mardy heard my voice, he got up and sought me out. He formally introduced himself, saying he wanted to finally meet the man behind the voice he’d heard for years, rattling off his accomplishments before matches at the US Open and Davis Cup Ties.

Genuine, authentic and real – he and Patrick McEnroe then introduced me to the rest of the guys. I’ll never forget Mardy’s sincerity. His kindness. His appreciation. That moment stuck with me, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to see him crack the top-10 and enjoy tremendous success on the court. There’s no doubt in my mind – as he blends his natural compassion with the raw and determined work-ethic he honed in chapter-1, Mardy Fish has a very rewarding future…as do many he will touch along the way. I’m grateful he had a chance to say “so long” on his own terms at this year’s Open.

Davis Cup Competition. History and How it Works…

Davis Cup began in 1900, and has become the world’s largest annual international team competition in sport, with 135 nations entering in 2016. The concept started with four members of the Harvard University tennis team interested in setting up a match between the U.S. and Great Britain. Harvard’s Dwight Davis designed the format and even paid for the original trophy with his own money. First known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, most began to refer to the competition as “Davis Cup,” after Dwight’s trophy.

The first Davis Cup Tie took place at Longwood Cricket Club in Boston. By 1905, France, Belgium, Austria and a combined team from Australia and New Zealand were added to the competition; and the field continued to grow through the decades. The current format was introduced in 1981, where the sixteen top-ranked nations compete in the World Group over four weekends each year. The First Round is held in February, Quarterfinals in April, Semifinals in September and the Final in November. Several other tiers of competition occur on those same weekends as nations battle to make it into the World Group the following year.

Today, a Davis Cup Weekend (Tie) features a captain and four players from each country. The home team has the choice of ground and court-surface for each Tie, factoring into strategy. Five different matches (rubbers) determine the outcome of the event. Friday features two singles rubbers. A doubles rubber is played on Saturday, and then two reverse-singles rubbers are played on Sunday, where the singles players swap opponents. To win the Tie, a team has to win at least three of the five rubbers played (all the best of five sets).

The sport’s greatest athletes have all competed in Davis Cup competition…including Fred Perry, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Stan Smith, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.

The United States owns the record for most Davis Cup titles, winning the championship 32 times. Australia owns 28 titles, while Great Britain earned it’s 10th Davis Cup title in 2015 behind Andy and Jamie Murray. It was Great Britain’s first Davis Cup title in 79-years, ending a drought dating back to 1936, when Great Britain won its 4th consecutive title behind Fred Perry.