Davis Cup: Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer Among Devastating Duos
Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer have staked Spain to a 2-0 lead after the first day of play in the Davis Cup Finals. It was almost to be expected as neither one of the Spaniards had lost a rubber playing on clay. The host nation appears to be well on its way to its fifth title since 2000 thanks to Nadal and Ferrer's play so far against Juan Monaco and Juan Martin del Potro, respectively.
Because while the Davis Cup is the ultimate team competition in tennis, sometimes two players can get the bulk of the work done, something that has been seen often over the years. Here's a look at some of the event's most formidable two-man wrecking crews.
Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic, Croatia
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In 2005, no one would have picked Croatia to win the title at the start of World Group play. However, no one told those two that. Their run started off with a shocking upset of the American team in the first round: Ljubicic beat Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, and he and Ancic dealt the Bryan Brothers their first loss in Davis Cup play. They went on to beat Slovakia in the finals for the nation's first Davis Cup crown.
Bob and Mike Bryan, United States
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What can you say about the Bryan Brothers when it comes to Davis Cup play? The twins have only lost one other match besides the one to Ancic and Ljubicic, posting an 18-2 record. They're often considered a guaranteed point for the U.S. team, and the biggest moment in representing their country came when they clinched the tie in the 2007 finals against Russia.
Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Philippoussis, Australia
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He often gets overshadowed because he didn't match the Grand Slam title-winning accomplishments of his peers, but Philippoussis had some shining moments in Davis Cup. He and Hewitt helped carry the title-winning efforts for Australia in 1999 and 2003.
Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg, Sweden
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This pair was often in the mix for Grand Slam titles in the 1980s, with Wilander winning seven during the decade and Edberg four of his six total. However, while they found themselves often competing for the game's biggest prizes, they came together to make up a formidable duo in Davis Cup. The two, who played for Sweden throughout their careers, led the nation to three titles in a four-year span.
Ilie Nastase and Ion Tiriac, Romania
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The clock must be turned back to recognize this duo. While they didn't win the Davis Cup, it's quite impressive that the team made it to back-to-back finals, considering the level of competition they were facing. While their tactics should not be celebrated by any means, some acknowledgement should be given to the fact Tiriac was a player with about a third of the talent of Nastase, but was able to complement him well in the team competition.