The U.S. team’s road to the 2014 Davis Cup got tougher as the No. 1 American, John Isner pulled out of this weekend’s World Group first-round tie against Great Britain.
On Wednesday, Isner told reporters (via Tennis.com) that “I wouldn't say I’m exactly where I want to be right now.” Isner injured his knee during the first week of the 2014 season at the Hopman Cup and had to retire during his first round match at the Australian Open.
Isner will be replaced by Donald Young, who is playing in his first Davis Cup and will open against world No. 6 Andy Murray.
The U.S. hopes to slow down Murray and his team as they face off in an arena that doesn't see much tennis, Petco Park, home to the San Diego Padres. The clay court is located in left field, using the outfield stands are part of the stadium.
Although Great Britain and the U.S. have had extensive Davis Cup history—U.S. leads the head-to-head 11-7—they haven’t faced each other in 15 years and with the recent change of events, this tie is a toss up.
“No matter who you play in a Davis Cup match it’s tough,” said Sam Querrey via daviscup.com, who plays in the second rubber on Friday. Querrey is coming off a good Australian Open run, defeating top 25 player Ernest Gulbis in straight sets before losing to Fabio Fognini in the third round.
The good news for both Querrey and Young is that they both have a win over Murray in California in their respective careers, Querrey’s coming in summer 2010 in Los Angeles and Young’s during the 2011 BNP Paribas tournament in Indian Wells.
Despite it being years ago and on different surfaces, the tie might not come down to beating Murray, thanks to the Bryan Brother’s Davis Cup doubles dominance. The twins had a disappointing last month losing in the early rounds in Melbourne, but they should have no problem dispatching Murray and Colin Fleming and return to their Davis Cup winning ways. Plus the Bryan’s will be more determined after losing a heart-breaking match last April against Serbia.
On the other side, Murray will try to boost his team into the World Group quarterfinals for the first time in his Davis Cup career. Though he’s the highest ranked player in San Diego this weekend, Murray didn’t play a lot of clay court matches last season, including missing the French Open due to injury. Despite the setback, look for Murray to keep his team alive this weekend with his single matches.
Despite no real underdog in this match-up, look for this tie to go the distance, putting pressure on the first time member, Donald Young in a dramatic fifth match rubber.
Play begins Friday. Click here for TV listings.