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USTA FL Blog: Isner Looks Strong at Wed. U.S. Davis Cup Practice

January 30, 2013 05:02 PM
Jacksonville fans and early out-of-towners enjoyed the free, open practice on late Wednesday afternoon at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, watching U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier put his charges through their paces in preparation for facing Brazil in the Davis Cup first round tie beginning Friday.
 
U.S. singles players John Isner and Sam Querrey practiced against lefty U.S. team practice partner Bradley Klahn, the 22-year-old 2010 NCAA champion, in preparation for Brazilian lefty Thomaz Bellucci.
 
This practice week is also a U.S. men's tennis get-together of sorts. Mardy Fish and Ryan Harrison are up from South Florida as hitting partners, and now James Blake is in the house, up from Tampa to serve as a commentator over the weekend for Tennis Channel.
 
davis_cup-isner
John Isner practices late Wednesday afternoon as Mardy Fish and Jim Courier look on
MaliVai Washington, who oversees the long-running MaliVai Kids Foundation in Jacksonville, was coincidentally the last singles player (along with the current U.S. captain Courier) to face Brazil in Davis Cup play in 1997. Read here a great piece from Randy Walker at World Tennis about Washington's heroics in that encounter, beating a young up-and-comer named Gustavo Kuerten on clay.
 
You think of John Isner and Sam Querrey as experienced Davis Cup players, and they are -- on the road. This will be their first tie played in the U.S. Isner is 5-5 in career Davis Cup singles, and Querrey is 1-5.
 
Florida is 6-0 -- that is, the U.S. has won all six ties played in Florida since the Davis Cup began in 1900.
 
Isner has been in doubt for this weekend since pulling out of the Australian Open with a bruised knee, but in Wednesday afternoon practice he was chasing down balls with seemingly no ill effects.
 
"It's definitely been feeling better," Isner said yesterday. "I've been doing everything I can to try to get this better. Really, once I pulled out of Australia, there wasn't much I could do besides rest. Rest was the most important thing. I can ice it five, six times a day. I can do some treatment on it. But the most important thing for me was rest. I definitely have that."
 
Were something to happen to Isner before Friday, captain Courier says Ryan Harrison would be the go-to guy rather than Fish, who is still returning to fitness and form.
 
"We're glad to have him practicing with the team," Courier said of Fish. "He's building back up to be at tour level. He's not going to be quite ready to go here."
 
From the giant-serving displays of Isner and Querrey on Wednesday afternoon to the Bryan brothers coming off their Australian Open title this month, captain Courier has to like what he's seeing from his troops on the slick hardcourt (Premier) indoor surface that he hand-picked himself.
 
Also check out USTA national's Erin Bruehl's coverage of the U.S. Davis Cup team's stop at a local elementary school yesterday, and some additional photos from USTA Florida. The USTA Florida Facebook page also has videos and additional coverage leading up to the weekend play, and Matt Fitzgerald at the ATP website wrote an entertaining piece on John Isner, who said he is the most likely of anyone on the U.S. team to forget the score during a game.
 
Individual-day tickets are still available, come out this weekend and enjoy some top-level tennis.
 
Blogging by USTA Florida Communications Coordinator Rick Vach, contact him at vach@florida.usta.com.
 
 
 
 
 

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