In a locker room in Birmingham, Ala., the United States Davis Cup team—Andy Roddick, James Blake, Sam Querrey, Mardy Fish and the Bryan Brothers—sit together, pensively waiting, wondering why they’ve been called together. Suddenly, in walks team captain Patrick McEnroe, holding a doll with brown hair, a white headband and shorts, red shirt and what appear to be tiny Nikes.
PM: I’m sure you’re wondering why I’ve called you here today. With our Davis Cup tie with Switzerland just ahead, there was, of course a lot of speculation as to whether or not we could beat them if you-know-who was playing.
(Players all nod in agreement.)
PM: Of course, now we know he’s not playing because of his back injury. Certainly helps our chances, but there’s going to be a lot of sympathy for their side.
(Players continue nodding, some adding “Yep.”)
PM: Which is why I was rather disappointed to find this in the locker room this morning.
(McEnroe raises the doll for all to see, revealing that it bears a clear resemblance to a certain famous Swiss player. A large needle protrudes from the doll’s back.)
PM: Now, as captain, I’d bear the brunt of the PR debacle this would be if found out, so I think I deserve an explanation.
(Players appear stunned, with some gaping in shock.)
PM: How about you, Andy? Not ready to go 2-17 against him just yet? AO still a sore memory?
AR: Hey, the difference between 2-16 and 2-17 is hardly a huge one. I’ve been nothing but gracious to you-know-who. Besides, I was liking my chances against what’s-his-name. For me, he’s practically a clean slate. Some other people … (points head suggestively at Blake) don’t have such a great record against him either.
JB: Hey, man, I’d never do that to you-know-who. He sent me a get-well card when I was in the hospital five years ago. It’s not like any of you guys could’ve been bothered to do the same. At any rate, I won my last match with you-know-who.
MF: I’d also like to point out that the same goes for me. I was 1-for-1 against you-know-who in oh-eight.
AR: Yeah, and I figure you’d like to stay that way. Now that you two are a combined 2-13 against him you’d like to keep your little “winning streaks” alive.
PM: What about you, Sam? You don’t have a winning run of any duration against you-know-who.
SQ: Man, every time I’ve played him or the Mauler I’ve raised my game and put up a good performance. If I played someone of lower rank I’d probably just blow it. If it’s all the same to you guys, I’d prefer to lose to someone like you-know-who because he’s too good than lose to someone else because I played sucky.
PM: Sounds fairly believable. All right then, Mike and Bob, what’s your alibi?
MB: Why do we even need one?
BB: What difference is it to us what happens to a singles player?
PM: He was probably going to play doubles with what’s-his-name. Don’t think we forgot that they tagged you at the Olympics.
MB: Yeah, but …
PM: And furthermore, maybe you’re tired of winning your DC doubles matches nearly every time just to have the singles guys fudge it up.
AR & JB: Hey!
PM: All right guys, we may not find our perpetrator today, but know that I’m watching you. Hopefully word of this won’t get out, but just so you know, if it does I’m not taking the fall. You can go now.
(The players, each looking more confused than before, begin filing out. Only Blake and McEnroe remain.)
JB: Hey Pat, you went to Stanford, right?
PM: Yeah. Why do you ask?
JB: (Points to the doll) The colors of the Stanford Cardinal are red and white.
PM: (Nervously) Uh … yeah …
JB: If we send that doll to a crime lab, it’s fabric isn’t going to be consistent with that of a Stanford U sweatshirt, is it?
PM: Look, do you want to have to go to some obscure Eastern European country this fall to play a tie just for the right to compete in Davis Cup next year?
JB: Patrick …
PM: Look, what’s it worth to you to keep this quiet?
JB: Patrick, my integrity can’t be bought.
PM: I have pictures of Ana Ivanovic showering.
JB: It can, however, be traded.
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