I had the opportunity today to participate in a USTA conference call with Patrick McEnroe, who formally announced the Davis Cup team that will take on Switzerland next week in first round action in Birmingham, Ala. There were no surprises, with Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan brothers selected, but while those names seldom vary, the names of the practice partners always do. For this tie, Amer Delic, the former NCAA champion while at Illinois, and 17-year-old Eddie Herr champion Alex Domijan will be accompanying the team. McEnroe admitted that he had picked Delic prior to the withdrawal of Federer from the Swiss team, but called Delic "such a good guy" and sounded happy to have him involved again, even though Delic doesn't fit the usual profile of a practice partner (he's 26). Here's what McEnroe said about Domijan:
Obviously Domijan is a guy I saw play a little bit down at the Orange Bowl, where he had a great couple of weeks there and at the Eddie Herr. Some of our coaches have been communicating with him and following him pretty closely, and we kind of like his attitude and what we've seen from him. I think it will be a great experience for him. He's practiced with some of our players already up at Saddlebrook, with the Bryan brothers and with James, and they seem to know him. We think he's got tremendous potential. It's a nice combination of a veteran practice guy, and someone like Alex, who's getting his first taste of that situation.I spoke with Alex this evening about his selection, which came about three weeks ago, and he said he considered it an honor to be chosen, although he did express some disappointment that Federer wasn't playing.
"But Roddick and Blake and all the people are still going to be there, so I'm going to train with them. It should be pretty fun."
I asked him what he was most looking forward to about the experience, which starts on Sunday.
"Just playing with those guys a lot. Usually, if I play with them, it's only like one day every three or four weeks. So to play with them on a consistent basis, and hopefully I'll improve."
For the complete transcript of McEnroe's press conference today, see ASAP Sports.
At the ATP Delray Beach International today, 16-year-old wild card Evan King lost to Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-4. King was up 3-1 in the second set, but lost five of the next six games against the 115th ranked ATP player. According to this story about King in today's Sun-Sentinel, the boys 18s Clay Court winner next year will get a qualifying wild card, not a main draw wild card. There was some controversy this year, when two-time champion Xavier Malisse did not get a wild card, with King, Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Querrey getting the three available.
The Charleston Post-Courier covered the finals of the SMASH Junior Cup, and had this report on Alison Riske's win over Kristie Ahn.