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Old Oct 9th, 2001, 04:53 AM   #1
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Question Todd Martin or James Blake for Davis Cup

I chose James. I like Todd, but I would be excited for James.

Thursday, October 4

McEnroe could juggle U.S. Davis Cup lineup

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Greg Garber
ESPN.com


It is a classic choice between the exuberance -- and an ability to cover the court -- of youth and the wisdom of experience.


James Blake could replace ailing Todd Martin in U.S. Davis Cup team's single lineup.
Last Tuesday, U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe submitted Todd Martin's name to the International Tennis Federation as part of the four-man U.S. team, but that is only a technicality. McEnroe has until Oct. 11 to finalize the No. 2 singles player behind Andy Roddick. Ultimately, James Blake could replace Martin.

Martin has struggled this season and has lost his past seven Davis Cup singles matches. Blake, who at the U.S. Open pushed eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt to five sets in a memorable match, has been playing well. Blake defeated Wayne Arthurs on Wednesday in Tokyo to lift his season's record to 8-8. Martin, who has been bothered by injuries, is 13-12.

Roddick, in accordance with Davis Cup protocol, likely will open against Mahesh Bhupathi, India's No. 2 singles player, and Martin or Blake would match up with No. 1 Leander Paes. Together, Bhupathi and Paes are one of the world's best doubles teams; their ability as singles players is considerably less. The last time these two nations met, Martin dispatched Paes in singles action, but that was 1994, when McEnroe (yes, Patrick, not John) played doubles for the United States -- and won.

Martin spent last weekend as host of a fund-raiser for his Todd Martin Development Fund in Lansing, Mich., which underwrites a tennis league and a leadership development program. After a series of nagging injuries -- a wrenched back suffered in Davis Cup play, a tender left forearm and two cranky knees -- Martin reports that he is healthy again. He's been practicing regularly for the past month.

"I feel great," Martin said. "I feel much better than I have in quite some time. That being said, James is more than capable of being up to the task at hand. I think it won't be long before he starts being named to the team straight away.

"We've got four hard days of practice ... if I don't hold up that great, or if my tennis isn't up to snuff, I know James is eager. I've got to be honest: I'm 99 percent sure any pre-existing issues with my body will be OK."

McEnroe said Martin's performance in practice sets will determine who plays at No. 2.

"That's the beautiful thing about Todd, he understands the situation we're in," McEnroe said. "He would be the first to say, 'I'm not ready.' Funnily enough, he has been more of a help to James than anyone. He's been a mentor to James the last couple of years. They both know it will be a healthy competition."

Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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Old Oct 9th, 2001, 06:03 AM   #2
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I think it shows a lot of character for Todd to cme out for the team, even though he knows that he may not eve get to play. It shows how supportive he is of the young guys, and how important that Davis Cup is too him (can we say, future captain?).

That said, I also hope James gets the spot, at least for one match. It would be a great experience, and given his recent success and improvement, it is one he has earned.
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Old Oct 9th, 2001, 06:40 AM   #3
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I hope James gets to play. He's such a polite guy, very classy. He's one of my favorites. <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">
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Old Oct 9th, 2001, 06:41 AM   #4
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Well, I cheer for Argentina, but if you want my opinion i prefer James.

SO CUTE <IMG SRC="smilies/drool.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/drool.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/drool.gif" border="0">
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Old Oct 9th, 2001, 06:52 AM   #5
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Well...I'm an American and if we chose to select Davis Cup players by such criteria as how nice or polite they were we would be eaten alive! It's like drafting Yayuk Basuki and Patricia Hy to play for the US because they are player services oriented...no no...I pick Todd Martin and hope and pray that he plays...He is a true hero in Davis Cup just as Jim Courier is IMO...(in recent years). Granted Todd is extremely player service oriented...but he has experience, talent and maturity that James has yet to even exhibit...sure the talent is there...but pressure and crowds are another animal...I disagree with you all so far...James' game is still YOUNG...he has a LOT ahead of him...and I hope by being a part of the squad he becomes a human sponge and soaks it all in! <IMG SRC="smilies/smile.gif" border="0">
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Old Oct 9th, 2001, 09:51 PM   #6
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Valda: you have a good point. Even if they were to pick the members by how nice they were, there would be no way then that Todd wouldn't play <IMG SRC="smilies/smile.gif" border="0">

If Todd is healthy, I agree that in ters\ms of dealing with pressure and with his experience, that Todd should play. I'm sure Pat knows that too.

However, in the case of a dead rubber, they should certaintly throw James in and give him a taste, like Roddick got in February.
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Old Oct 12th, 2001, 07:12 PM   #7
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<Marquee><bold>Good luck James!!!!!!!!!!</bold></marquee>

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe has opted for youth over experience for this weekend's Davis Cup tie against India.


Florida teenager Andy Roddick, who has enjoyed a terrific breakthrough year by winning three titles and reaching the U.S. Open quarterfinals, and Davis Cup debutante James Blake will lead the team in singles at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.


The doubles pairing of Don Johnson and Jared Palmer, who have only been playing together since early this year, will face a veteran Indian team in this year's French Open champions Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati, who also won the 1999 French and Wimbledon doubles titles.


But McEnroe said there was no question about his decision to replace Davis Cup veteran Todd Martin with Blake, who led eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt two sets to one at the U.S. Open before losing their second-round match.


"Basically, James played his way into the spot," McEnroe said on Thursday. "He's made huge strides in his game in the last six months, especially the last couple of months. He's playing with a lot of confidence.


"Todd is the ultimate team guy. He came here knowing the situation and that this could happen, but it's a testament to him that he came here in great shape. Physically, he looked good. But I think if you would ask him I think certainly he realizes that this was the right call."


Roddick takes on Harsh Mankad in the first match on Friday, followed by Blake against Paes.


"I don't really know the emotions that will be going through my head at that time," Blake said. "But I know I have prepared as well as I can to this point. That's all I can really do."


Martin has been one of Blake's biggest backers.


"I think Todd and I are very similar in that we're both late bloomers on the Tour," Blake added.


"Any time I have any kind of a lapse in concentration or if I feel my game isn't there, he is the first person I call. He helps me get through that and has helped me realize my potential and that I can do some good things in this sport."


The Indian team will rely heavily on Paes, who will play singles and doubles, as well as being the squad's spiritual leader.


"I can't get enough of it," Paes said. "I love playing Davis Cup, having done it for a few years playing all three matches. I have a lot of fun."

[ October 12, 2001: Message edited by: rmc ]
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Old Oct 13th, 2001, 12:14 AM   #8
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<Marquee>Congratulations James and Andy</Marquee>

Both men won today in straight sets!!!!

I can't think of two better looking guys in all of tennis. Beauty and talent! What more could one want??
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Old Oct 17th, 2001, 07:39 AM   #9
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James and Andy came through. The US beat India 4 - 1. Andy and James won all their singles matches. The US lost the one point in doubles.

I know this is about men's tennis, but I wanted to post something

a) positive

b) patriotic in a US-centric way

c) exciting in the fact that these are two young new faces

d) multi-cultural

I'm sure Arthur Ashe looked down and smiled on James' success (and Andy's too!)
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Old Oct 17th, 2001, 07:41 AM   #10
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Here is the espn article:

http://espn.go.com/tennis/news/2001/1014/1264031.html
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Old Oct 17th, 2001, 07:45 AM   #11
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Thanks for the articles and info on this topic.
I hope that Davis Cup experience does for Andy and James, what it has done for Lleyton Hewitt.
ALso, bravo to P. McEnroe for making his gamble on youth...it appears he may have found his calling.
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Old Oct 17th, 2001, 12:32 PM   #12
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USA! USA! USA!

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