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Sunday, February 12, 2012

NEWS: The season that never ends, and a quarterfinal slot by Tennis Team USA

Imagine life after FOOTBALL especially when it isn't called BASKETBALL. Yes, there is actually an international sport taking place that should warm the cockles of even the reddest-blooded national sports fan. It is called the Davis Cup, and the sport is tennis. What, isn't that a fair weather sport? Isn't that season over yet? Well, it may seem to some that the tennis season never ends. That is because IT DOESN'T! Tennis is the only professional sport with NO OFF SEASON. And our national pride is on the line, as of this writing, in a competition that pits the best tennis players our country has to offer against that of other countries. For those not aware that tennis is also a team sport at the pro level, this is a chance to follow the best-of-the-best in competition for a trophy resulting from multiple wins by various players on the team. 

And wow, do I have good news to report or what? The United States team just finished off team Switzerland by a score of 5-0 with wins over none other than 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and world-class #28 Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka. Mardy Fish, currently ranked number 8 in the world, beat Wawrinka in five grueling sets–the third longest match in Davis Cup history lasting 4 hours and 26 minutes. Federer was taken down by big-serving American John Isner in four sets. And the team of Mardy Fish and Mike Bryan took out teammates Federer and Wawrinka in doubles even though the American's began by losing the first set. Ryan Harrison and John Isner finished out by steamrolling the Swiss team with straight-set wins over Michael Lammer and Marco Chiudinelli respectively. 

The U.S. team, captained by former four-time Grand Slam champion Jim Courier, now moves into the Quarterfinal round against the winner of the Spain vs. Austria contest (correction: FRANCE). So yes, the tennis season continues. The competition is hot enough to keep even a casual sports fan's interest warm since, although not grabbing the eyeballs generated by basketball, it provides great competitive match-ups, nail-biting tiebreakers, and national pride. And that is not a bad combination especially in a Summer Olympic year where tennis players will compete for the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals on the courts of the All-England Club directly after the Wimbledon championships. 

What a great year 2012 is turning out to be for American tennis and sports fans all over the world. 

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