Though the players complain of scheduling problems, they are willing to put their might in for the Davis Cup matches. With Serbia, Spain and Switzerland in action over the last week, it gave the fans to watch a plethora of stars in action. With Djokovic, Nadal and Federer in action in these matches for their respective countries, it represented a turning of the corner for Tennis in general


Gone were the days of major stars like Sampras shunning the Davis Cup preparation in favour of preparation time. With the change of rules in 2009, where ranking points were awarded for wins in Davis Cup, top players were back in the fold. This provides for superb atmosphere in what are called as ‘rubbers’


Davis Cup, in nature is totally different to Slams. It is the only tournament in Tennis, apart from the friendly Hopman Cup, that has the individual contributing to the Team’s cause.  It is this atmosphere that motivates scrappers like Lleyton Hewitt from Australia and Leander Paes from India


Hewitt once came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Federer and played well in front of a rabid home crowd in Brazil to defeat Gustavo Kuerten on clay. It is this feeling- that of playing for the country and being responsible for its fortunes that might be the reason for the players giving their best


Djokovic underwent contrasting emotions in the space of one year in the Davis cup. He sheared off his hair in celebration of an epic victory for Serbia last year. This year he was in tears because he had to retire midway in the match against Del Potro and thus put his country out in the semis


When we talk of streaks, it would be remarkable to note that Nadal has an impregnable singles record in the Davis Cup. He has won 18 matches and only lost one match.  That one loss was against Jiri Novak seven years ago. So more often than not, once Nadal plays the rubber, its advantage Spain


Just in the recently concluded match against France, the way he took apart Tsonga was exemplary. Now that the final is scheduled on clay against  Argentina, he would be  a force to reckon and his clash against Juan Martin del Potro would be keenly followed

It was Davis Cup victory that marked a seminal event for Djokovic’s amazing run this year. Whoever said tennis is an individual sport needs to rethink and find time to follow Davis Cup


(This feature first appeared on  on 21st September 2011)


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