Skip to main content

Best of Three: Once again, Davis Cup succeeds in spite of itself


1. Cup coup. Last week was Davis Cup week. And, as badly as the event is in need of a format/marketing upgrade, it succeeded in spite of itself. Exceptional tennis, exceptional drama, heroic efforts, and that beguiling overlap of individual and team. Spanning the globe ... we go to Chile, where the Americans made Jim Courier's debut a success and prevailed on clay. As long as Andy Roddick and the Bryans are on the skipper's line-up card, the Americans have a good chance. Riding a big win by Joachim Johansson (remember him?) the Swedes scored a big win against Russia. Kazakhstan upset the Czech Republic. I liiike! Depsite Ivo Karlovic's record 156 miles per hour. serve, Germany was able to beat Croatia. Last year's winner, Serbia -- which prevailed over France just a few days ago, it seems -- was sensibly given a first-round bye. No, wait! This just in: the Serbs beat India in Novi Sad. Check all the results at the consistently excellent If the only ITF's ability to embrace change was as good as its website!

2. Saint Jelena. The most heartwarming story in tennis this week had nothing to do with Davis Cup. Jelena Dokic was once a Top 5 player but the antics of her loathsome father became the central theme of her narrative. She fell out of the top 100, quit tennis, lost out on vast sums of money and dealt with both serious injuries and serious depression. Slowly -- and with pops mercifully absent -- she's climbed back. Last weekend she won her first title in nearly a decade, beating some decent opponents along the way to win in Kuala Lampur. She's already up to No. 60, and with no points to defend until July, she could be headed back to the upper reaches of the game at age 27. As Glenn Stevenson of New York noted: "You have to have a heart of stone not to root for her."

3. Thinking of Serena. The big tennis news last week was the revelation that Serena Williams was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism and later needed treatment for a hematoma. As usual, there are there is abundant curiosity, abundant concern -- and an abundance of unanswered questions. We've gotten a lot of mail on this and we'll write great at length about it in Wednesday's Mailbag. But I'd encourage you not to think of this as "more Serena drama" as one of you put it. It's serious business and it's hard to see her coming back anytime soon. Wish her well.