Thursday December 8th, 2011

Bruce Jenkins has a great piece on SI.com this week about the need to preserve the passion that surrounds Davis Cup in the face of all the calls for change. I hereby co-sign.

Passion is what makes Davis Cup special. It's not that there's "more passion" in Davis Cup as opposed to the other big tennis competitions (i.e., the Slams or the Olympics), it's just different. What sets Davis Cup apart is that everyone, from the fans to the players, has absolutely no problem laying their passions bare for all the world to see. While tennis is typically a staid sport with a culture of refinement and reserve, everyone lets loose when that humongous trophy sits courtside. It's an environment like none other in tennis.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP

I mean, in what other arena would it be semi-OK for Fernando Verdasco to insist on wearing the Spanish flag as a skirt during a trophy ceremony? If Novak Djokovic did that after raising the U.S. Open trophy, he'd be vilified. Here we just want to pat Fernando on the head and say, "Oh, you."

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Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP

A week before, Rafael Nadal was lamenting the fact that he had lost his passion for the game. Then Davis Cup rolls long and, well, let's just say I'm not entirely convinced by your argument, Rafa.

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Spanish King Juan Carlos (far left) with the trophy. (Julio Munoz/Zumapress)

Man. Agent Smith has really let himself go.

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Miguel Angel Morenatti/AP

A late nomination for Pic of the Year?

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Javier Diaz/Reuters

Covered in dirt and left to sob on Rafa's shoulder? That's what happens when one dares mount a challenge to dethrone the King.

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Duchess of Alba (right) and husband Alfonso Diez. (Julio Munoz/Zumapress)

That's the 85-year-old Duchess of Alba and her husband, who is 24 years younger. Robbing the cradle, you go on with your bad self, woman.

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Julio Munoz/Zumapress

Hat!

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Miguel Angel Morenatti/AP

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Passion? Meet heartbreak.

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Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP

Next year, Nalby. There's always next year.

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