The USTA and U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier announced on Tuesday that world No. 10 John Isner, No. 28 Sam Querrey, and 2012 Olympic doubles gold medalists Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will represent the United States in the 2012 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Semifinal tie against Spain, September 14-16. The tie will be played on an outdoor red clay court at the Parque Hermanos Castro in Gijon, Spain.
Spain, the defending Davis Cup champion, announced their roster of No.5 David Ferrer, No. 12 Nicolas Almagro, No. 24 Marcel Granollers, and Top 10 doubles player Marc Lopez earlier today. Spain has won the Davis Cup title three out of the last four years (2008, 2009 and 2011).
“Our team is battle-tested after two tough road wins this year against Switzerland and France,” said second-year U.S. Davis Cup Captain Courier, who has a 3-0 record on the road. “Playing against Spain on clay is the ultimate test in Davis Cup and we look forward to the challenge in Gijon.”
“It’s the ultimate ask,” Courier told media.
“We have had the toughest draw you can have in Davis Cup with the road matches we have faced, and this one is the ultimate ask in current Davis Cup tennis. Going into Spain, playing them on red clay, they haven’t lost in a long, long time. We certainly feel like we’re going to have a chance, but we also feel like we’re not the favorites. We felt that way in the first two matches this year, too.”
Courier also announced that two-time NCAA singles champion Steve Johnson, former US Open boys’ singles finalist Denis Kudla and 2011 NCAA doubles champion Austin Krajicek will be practice partners for the team. All three have served as practice partners before.
Matches will be telecast live on Tennis Channel starting at 6 a.m. ET on Friday, 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, and 6 a.m. ET on Sunday. USTA.com will also feature live streaming of all Davis Cup matches in the United States for free.
The opening day of play in the best-of-five match series features each country’s No. 1 singles player against the No. 2 player from the opposing country. The pivotal doubles match is played Saturday, followed by Sunday’s “reverse singles,” starting with each country’s No. 1 players squaring off followed by the No. 2 players in the fifth and final match.
This semifinal tie will mark the 11th matchup overall between the U.S. and Spain in Davis Cup competition. The countries are tied in their series with five wins each with the last meeting taking place in the 2011 World Group Quarterfinal in Austin, Texas (Spain won that tie, 3-1). The Spaniards last defeated the U.S. in Spain in the 2008 World Group Semifinal on clay, where Spain later went on to win the Davis Cup title that year.
The winner of this match will face the winner of the semifinal between the Czech Republic and Argentina. If the U.S. wins, it will either travel to Argentina or host the Czech Republic in the final, November 16-18.
Isner, 27, will be competing in his sixth Davis Cup tie and is 5-3 in singles and 2-0 in doubles. Isner defeated Roger Federer in the U.S. Davis Cup team’s first round win at Switzerland in February, one of the biggest wins of his career, and won his sixth career ATP singles title this year at the Winston-Salem Open, an Emirates Airline US Open Series event. The tallest player in U.S. Davis Cup history at 6-foot-9, Isner made his Davis Cup debut in the 2010 World Group First Round in Serbia where he became the first U.S. player to compete in three live rubbers in the same tie since James Blake in the 2003 first round. He turned professional after an outstanding four-year career at the University of Georgia, leading the Bulldogs to the 2007 NCAA team title as a senior. Isner is currently No. 10 in the world and is coming off a third round appearance at the US Open.
Querrey, 24, will be competing on the U.S. Davis Cup team for the first time since the 2010 World Group Playoff in Colombia and holds a 1-4 Davis Cup singles record in three ties. Querrey made his Davis Cup debut against Rafael Nadal on clay in Madrid in the 2008 World Group Semifinal, losing in four sets. He peaked at No. 17 in the world in January 2011, but was forced to undergo right elbow surgery in June last year that sidelined him for three months. This year, Querrey climbed back up the rankings after winning his seventh career ATP title at the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Los Angeles and reaching three ATP semifinals. Like Isner, Querrey reached the third round of the 2012 US Open.
Bob Bryan, 34, holds a 20-2 doubles record in Davis Cup and a 19-2 record with twin brother, Mike. He is also 4-2 in singles (all dead rubbers). Bob did not compete in February’s first round match at Switzerland due to the birth of his daughter. In 2009, the Bryans’ win in the Davis Cup first round versus Switzerland put them first all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history with 15 doubles wins as a team and they are the only brothers to pair in victory for the U.S. In 2010, Bob and Mike broke the all-time Open era record of 62 team doubles titles after winning the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Los Angeles and have since extended their record to 80 doubles titles. The Bryan brothers won the gold medal in doubles at the 2012 Olympics in London, where they completed a career Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal. Bob and Mike are currently in the quarterfinals of the US Open, of which they are three-time champions.
Mike Bryan, 34, played without twin brother Bob for just the second time in his Davis Cup career during the 2012 World Group First Round, where he teamed with Mardy Fish to defeat 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalists Federer and Wawrinka to clinch the tie for the U.S. Mike holds a 21-2 record in Davis Cup doubles matches and is 19-2 with Bob (Mike partnered with Fish in the 2008 semifinal against Spain). He played in 19 consecutive doubles matches for the U.S. Davis Cup team since he and Bob joined the team in September 2003 until suffering from food poisoning before the 2010 World Group First Round in Serbia (Isner replaced Mike and teamed with Bob). The Bryan brothers currently share the No. 3 doubles ranking and finished six of the past seven years as the top-ranked doubles team in the world. They have qualified for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Mike owns 82 career tour-level doubles titles.
Founded in 1900, Davis Cup is the world’s largest annual international men’s team competition with 125 nations competing this year. The U.S. leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles.