Monday, April 14, 2008

See you in September ... The Davis Cup report

Usually, I wait about two weeks to write the Davis Cup report in protest of the way they insist on running this event. But you bring me out of the woodwork, Richard.
That's Richard Gasquet, the (...ahem...) man who let his team down this weekend for Davis Cup. Quick recap: Jo-Jo Tsonga begs off with a bad knee, a legitimately bad knee. Gasquet, who's the number 1 French player has blisters. OK, I know blisters can get bad, and you would think that they would be some honkin' blisters to keep the man down. And it did, sort of. Gasquet sat himself for Friday and Saturday. The French team of Michael Llodra and Arnaud Clement manage a doubles win, meaning the U.S. had a 2-1 lead going into Sunday. Essentially, the French need a win. So their coach, Guy Forget, goes to his star player and fairly begs him (I'd bet) to suit up. Here's the part that makes me smile in disbelief. Gasquet response appeared to be "OK, OK, I'll play, but only in the last match of the day, when it might not matter."
Um, WHAT???!!? Richie -- news flash. You're either hurt or you're not. If you're hurt, sit your ass down. If you're not, then play, and play when your team needs you. This guy has beaten Andy Roddick before and knows damned well that he's the best shot for his country, blisters or no. If you think you can play the fifth match, why can't you play the fourth? What, he's miraculously better three hours later? Your team needs to win the fourth match! Gasquet must have quite a pair to show his face on that court after his team had already lost the tie. Of course, one could make the argument that he's missing a pair not to take the court when it counted.
Richard Gasquet, you are the first player to earn the TWA Wackest Player of the Week award. It's going to take some doing to unseat you.
So the U.S. advances to face Rafa Nadal and Spain. In September. They could play the whole tournament in a two-week span, but the ITF, in its wisdom, thinks it's better to let the tension build. In a strange coincidence, that's also enough time for people to forget about Davis Cup altogether. Huh.

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