The Davis Cup is tennis's answer to the BCS. The confusing logistics (and self-interested administrators unwilling to consider an alternative) frustrate fans and diminish the event's prestige. Still, the team format and the overlay of patriotism often make for dramatic upsets, and boy, was there one last weekend. The U.S. faced Roger and the Federaires (i.e., the Swiss) in Fribourg, Switzerland, which meant the hosts had a partisan crowd and their choice of surface, in this case red clay. When U.S. captain Jim Courier spoke optimistically of the Yanks' chances, he was a minority of one.
This is an article from the Feb. 20, 2012 issue
Yet in Friday's first singles match Mardy Fish outlasted Stanislas Wawrinka in five sets. Then John Isner scored one of the great shockers in recent memory, taking down a lethargic Federer in four. On Saturday the Americans sealed the deal in doubles, as Fish and Mike Bryan beat Federer and Wawrinka.
Next up for the U.S. is France, another powerhouse. "We have the worst draw you could have on paper," said Courier, "[but] you saw what paper means here, which is absolutely nothing."