Querrey replaces Blake; Nadal to lead Spain

Updated: September 9, 2008, 4:06 PM ET
Associated Press

MADRID, Spain -- James Blake was dropped from the defending champion U.S. Davis Cup team and replaced by Sam Querrey on Tuesday.

Querrey was chosen ahead of Blake for the best-of-five series against Spain on outdoor clay Sept. 19-21 in Madrid.

Andy Roddick and doubles specialists Bob and Mike Bryan round out the U.S. team selected by captain Patrick McEnroe.

"James is just exhausted physically and mentally after a grueling summer," McEnroe said. "He said he needed a break and we respect that. This is also a great opportunity for Sam, who has had a solid year, strong results on clay and has been a loyal practice partner for this team."

Last year, Blake teamed with Roddick and the Bryan brothers to lead the Americans to their record 32nd Davis Cup title.

Nadal

Nadal

Spain captain Emilio Sanchez Vicario selected top-ranked Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez.

Querrey was listed on the official nomination released by the International Tennis Federation, but it noted it was still awaiting confirmation on his eligibility. Querrey, ranked No. 40, has never played in the Davis Cup.

Last week, McEnroe said Blake would be on the team with Roddick and the Bryan brothers for a record 11th straight time.

Nicolas Almagro was listed as a reserve for Spain, while 16th-ranked Tommy Robredo was left off the team.

Nadal, who lost to Andy Murray in the semifinals of the U.S. Open on Sunday, may get a few days rest before joining the team.

"He lost a match, but the tiredness and stress are within the usual limits," Sanchez Vicario said of Nadal, who may not attend practice Saturday. "He is very enthusiastic about this tie."

Argentina will host Russia on outdoor clay in Buenos Aires in the other semifinal series.

Sixth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko of Russia will play alongside Igor Andreev, Dmitry Tursunov and Igor Kunitsyn. Marat Safin was again passed over.

Argentina will counter with David Nalbandian, Juan Martin del Potro, Agustin Calleri and Guillermo Canas.

In the World Group playoffs, U.S. Open champion Roger Federer will lead Switzerland, and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic will guide Serbia.

Federer rebounded from losses in the French Open and Wimbledon finals to win his 13th Grand Slam title on Monday at the U.S. Open -- one shy of Pete Sampras' all-time record.

Federer will play against visiting Belgium on indoor hard courts in Lausanne, and Murray will help Britain against Austria on the grass at Wimbledon.

Murray will team with brother Jamie Murray, Alex Bogdanovic and Ross Hutchins against Austria's Jurgen Melzer, Alexander Peya, Martin Fischer and Julian Knowle.

Djokovic, who lost to Federer in the U.S. Open semifinals, will team with Janko Tipsarevic, Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic on outdoor hard courts against Slovakia.

The Davis Cup final will be played Nov. 21-23.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press