The disjointed, season-long format of the Davis Cup has never lent itself to casual viewership. Last weekend's quarterfinal ties, tucked away in the shadows of the Wimbledon afterglow, set the stage for a pair of semifinals that don't take place until after the U.S. Open.
But the sport's most prestigious team event always seems to produce storylines worth the wait. Here are three impressions from the quarterfinals with an eye toward the semifinals in September.
With a home victory, Croatia improved its all-time record against the United States to 3-0.
Croatia's good fortune continued Sunday when the Czech Republic eliminated Argentina. Instead of traveling to South America for the semifinals, the Croatians will play host to the Czech team, at which time
"This was one of the greatest ties I've played so far," Cilic told reporters Sunday. "I think I've gained a lot of experience here, everyone supported me, and it really felt good to play at home. The Czechs are also a great team, but playing at home is a little bit of an advantage, so with our team we can go through to the final."
Playing in the quarterfinals for the first time in 22 years, Israel came up with the weekend's biggest shocker.
Israel advances to meet host Spain, the defending champion.
"What a team ... I think that as a team we are the No. 1 team in the world," Ram said. "We are all friends, we all grew up together since the age of 14, we know each other so well, and the families too. I don't think there has been any other team like it. There is such friendship and its great to experience."
Two players from losing teams produced some of the best performances of the weekend. Argentina's
Another standout effort came from Germany's
"Does the Davis Cup ever end? Does it ever start? Does it take place in a vortex? Has anyone ever actually won a Davis Cup?"
"Me and the dog watching Davis cup
"I'm in NYC shopping at Bergdorff Goodmans for shoes. I have serious shopping issues. A pair okay more than a pair of shoes are calling me."