Americans hope to call on crowd at home against France
Defending champions the United States plan a noisy reception in the heart of the nation's south at Davis Cup World group quarter-final against France
VIENNA, Feb 11, 2008 - Defending champions the United States plan a
noisy reception in the heart of the nation's south at an April 11-13 Davis Cup
World group quarter-final against France.
Last spring, the Americans rode the support of fans in tennis-starved North
Carolina to a sweep of Spain.
Captain Patrick McEnroe and his men are hoping for more of the same against
the next set of European visitors.
"France has a great team and great young players, obviously (Jo-Wilfried)
Tsonga with a great Australian Open," said McEnroe after his side moved into
unassailable 3-0 command against Austria in Vienna.
"Not only do they have a great team, but great individual players and a lot
of flair in their team.
"Playing in Winston Salem (in 2007) was an incredible environment.
"We're hoping for the same kind of scene there this year. It was one of the
best crowds we've ever had in the US
"We hope to fill it again and make it nice and loud and noisy for the
The two nations, who have seven wins each from their 14 meetings, will meet
with the visitors attempting to win on American soil for the first time since
While this weekend's various first-round Davis Cup ties were missing Roger
Federer and Rafael Nadal plus Britain's Andy Murray, that was not the case in
Vienna, with number six Andy Roddick pacing the US effort with an opening-day
James Blake rallied from a set and 5-2 down for 2-0 and the formidable
Bryan brothers wrapped up victory a day early in doubles.
"I can't relate to guys that don't put their heart and soul into the Davis
Cup," said Bob Bryan, who has played the last 15 ties with his brother.
"We would never skip one of them, or even think of skipping one of them.
It's tough to play a Grand Slam with Davis Cup right on the horizon, but these
are the only real moments that get my juices flowing anymore."
The French overwhelmed Romania, though doubles players Arnaud Clement and
Michael Llodra had to survive a fright over five sets to clinch.
"We've got a little more experience than they do," said McEnroe. "But there
are some similarities.
"Llodra and Clement are one of the best teams in the world in doubles, and
we've got the best team.
"Makes it like every match could almost be like a Grand Slam semi."
The tie will fall directly after the run of back-to-back Masters Series
events in the US, ending with Miami.
"The key is obviously for Andy and James to play well in the big
tournaments, and hopefully to stay healthy and take care of themselves," said
Despite Roddick winning his only grand slam title five years ago and Blake
still trying to overcome a big-match choker label, the Americans are confident
their tennis will be up to the task.
"US tennis has been pretty darn strong," said Bryan. "We're doing pretty
well, and the Davis Cup team is doing well.
"What else do you need to measure a successful country? That's it right