No Roddick, Blake for Davis Cup
After selecting John Isner, Sam Querrey and the doubles pairing of twins Bob and Mike Bryan on Wednesday to the team that will play against Serbia in the first round on March 5-7, McEnroe said he wasn't quite ready to call it the end of an era.
For the first time since 2000, neither Roddick nor Blake will be on the roster. That's a span of 25 Davis Cup ties.
"Certainly the door is never shut on those guys for coming back at some point, and I think Andy already expressed that he may not be playing this time, but it doesn't mean he is never going to play Davis Cup again," said McEnroe, who took over as captain in 2001. "But at the same time these two guys have earned their spots and I'm very excited to see how they perform in what will be a very tough environment."
Querrey will be making his second appearance for the U.S. team while Isner will be making his Davis Cup debut.
Roddick decided not to play this year after trainers advised him that changing surfaces as often as is required in Davis Cup play could create more knee problems. Blake also decided not to play in Davis Cup, opening the door for two young players under the age of 25.
The 24-year-old Isner reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and captured his first ATP World Tour title in Auckland, New Zealand, last month. At 6-foot-9, he is the tallest player in U.S. Davis Cup history.
He was selected the ATP's most improved player for 2009, the first American to win it since Andre Agassi in 1998.
"There were some rumors floating around that Andy and James might take this year off," Isner said. "I think with doing so well in Australia, that also helped my chances. This is something I've been looking forward to ever since I started playing pro tennis."
Querrey went 0-2 in his Davis Cup debut against Spain in 2008, losing to Rafael Nadal in his first match.
"And Andy and James are still very much a part of the team," Querrey said. "I'm sure they're going to be calling us and texting us and wishing us luck and giving us advice.
"Even though they're not in Serbia, they're still kind of a part of the team and I still feel like a newcomer here and I'm still kind of learning my way."
McEnroe said he will lean on the Bryans, who are the world's top-ranked doubles team and veterans of Davis Cup play, to help the new guys out.
The games will be played indoors on clay, which doesn't exactly play to the strengths of the Americans. The winner will advance to play either Ecuador or Croatia in the quarterfinals in July.
"We've had a tremendous run with both Andy and James," McEnroe said. "They've been absolute stalwarts for almost 10 years. This is now my 10th year as captain so I'm really feeling re-energized to see these new guys come out there."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press