Andy Roddick, James Blake Headline U.S. Davis Cup Team

Tuesday, September 4th 2007, 1:45 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan brothers once again will represent the United States in Davis Cup play, this time for the semifinal matchup at Sweden later this month.

Captain Patrick McEnroe made it official Tuesday, picking the top two Americans in singles and the No. 1-ranked doubles duo of Bob and Mike Bryan. For practice partners, McEnroe made big choices _ 6-foot-9 John Isner and 6-6 Sam Querrey.

The semifinal tie will be Sept. 21-23 in Goteborg at the Scandinavium Arena, the same place where Sweden beat the Americans for the 1984 and 1997 Davis Cup titles.

The Swedes picked to play on hard courts, which suited McEnroe fine.

``I think their guys are obviously a lot more comfortable on fast courts, which obviously we are, as well,'' he said at the U.S. Open.

``I don't think we were disappointed when we heard it was a fast, hard court, particularly coming off the Open, the guys playing all summer on this kind of surface,'' he said.

Germany and Russia play in the other semifinal. If it becomes a U.S.-Russian final, the Americans would host it.

San Diego, Oklahoma City, Portland, Ore., and Winston-Salem, N.C., are the four possible sites for a potential championship.

Roddick, Blake and the Bryans led the Americans to a 4-1 win over Spain in April at Winston-Salem. McEnroe saw a benefit to keeping the team intact, on and off the court.

``I think it's their commitment and their energy. They just love being there. They love being with each other. They bring that kind of passion every time,'' he said.

``I've been captain seven years. Roddick has missed one match because of a serious injury,'' he said. ``That's pretty incredible for any country to have their No. 1 player over that long a period.''

Roddick is in the quarterfinals of the Open, set to play Roger Federer on Wednesday.

Blake lost Monday to Tommy Haas 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (4). The Bryans also lost, 7-5, 6-4 to Simon Aspelin of Sweden and Julian Knowle of Austria.

McEnroe said he wasn't sure who would be on Sweden's team. Thomas Johansson and Jonas Borkman are expected to play, but Robin Soderling was uncertain after missing the hard-court season and the Open because of an injured left wrist.

One thing is fairly sure: the 22-year-old Isner and 19-year-old Querrey are in for a memorable time.

Isner made a splash by reaching the third round of the Open and winning a set against Federer. Querrey lost in opening round at Stefan Koubek.

At Sweden, they're bound to be on the wrong end of a few pranks _ it's a tradition that the practice partners endure a bit of hazing.

``We always have someone maybe has to say a few words, talk to the big group. That's had its moments over the years,'' McEnroe said. ``They see the guys off the court, they play cards, they have fun.''

``But when they get on the court, they're incredibly focused,'' he said. ``I think that's the biggest thing that the young guys can learn about the work ethic, sort of the day in, day out grind of trying to be a top player.''