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Florida's Isner, Bryans Lead U.S. Davis Cup at Serbia

February 17, 2010 06:00 PM
 

 Bob and Mike Bryan

Florida's John Isner and Californian Sam Querrey will enter a trial by fire at the Beogradska Arena on red clay in Belgrade on March 5-7, 2010, when they debut as the top two singles players for the U.S. Davis Cup team under captain Patrick McEnroe.

For Isner it will be the first time he has played under the U.S. flag, and the second time for Querrey, who took a set off Rafael Nadal in his only previous appearance against Spain in the 2008 semifinals on red clay in Madrid.

Isner and Querrey step up after Andy Roddick and James Blake announced they were taking a break from the competition -- Roddick to take care of niggling injuries, and Blake to attend to his ATP Ranking after dropping out of the Top 25.

This is the first meeting between the U.S. and Serbia, which will be fronted by Top 5 player Novak Djokovic. It is the first time since 2000 that neither Andy Roddick nor James Blake will be on the U.S. Davis Cup roster -- a span of 25 Davis Cup ties.

"We are very excited about John and Sam joining the Bryans to lead our Davis Cup team," said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe, who has led the U.S. to a 16-8 record since taking over the team in 2001, and is now second all-time for most wins by a U.S. Davis Cup Captain behind Tom Gorman (18). "Both guys have really stepped up their games and are more than ready to take on the challenge of going on the road to face Serbia. We have had great commitment from our players in the past and expect the same from John and Sam in the years ahead."

The U.S. reached the Davis Cup quarterfinals last year, defeating Switzerland in the first round before losing at Croatia. The U.S. vs. Serbia winner will face either Ecuador or Croatia in the Davis Cup quarterfinals on July 9-11.  If the United States beats Serbia, they will be guaranteed to host the July quarterfinal.

 

 From left: Sam Querrey and John Isner

The 24-year-old Isner, whose training base is out of Saddlebrook in Wesley Chapel, Fla. (as is Blake's and the Bryan brothers'), at 6-foot-9 becomes the tallest player in U.S. Davis Cup history. Isner served as a Davis Cup practice partner twice in 2007. Isner is currently playing the best tennis of his young pro career, defeating Andy Roddick en route to the fourth round at the 2009 US Open, capturing his first ATP World Tour title in Auckland, New Zealand, in January, and then reaching the fourth round of the 2010 Australian Open to become the No. 2-ranked American in men's tennis.

The 22-year-old Querrey was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic tennis team and is 0-2 in Davis Cup after making his debut against then-world No. 1 Rafael Nadal on clay in Madrid, losing in four sets. Querrey had a breakout season last year with a personal-best 41-23 singles record. He rose to a career-high No. 22 in the world and won the Olympus US Open Series last summer. Querrey won his second singles title on the ATP World Tour at the L.A. Tennis Open in July (one of five appearances in ATP World Tour singles finals last year). Last week, he won his first pro doubles title in San Jose, Calif., with Mardy Fish.

The 31-year-old Bryan brothers continue to be the U.S. mainstay with a 16-2 career record in Davis Cup doubles. The Bryans' win at the 2009 Davis Cup first round versus Switzerland put them first all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history with 15 doubles wins as a team. The Bryans won the 2010 Australian Open doubles title, their 57th tour-level doubles titles together, making them the most successful sibling doubles team in the Open Era. The Bryan brothers currently share the No. 1 doubles ranking and finished four of the past five years as the top-ranked doubles team in the world. They won their eighth career major doubles title at the 2010 Australian Open. 

Tennis Channel will provide daily coverage of the March 5-7 tie.
 

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