Well, the first round of the Davis Cup is over and done with, and what a round it was. We saw amazing matches in both singles and doubles and we saw some history being made.
I'm Canadian, and it has been a joy seeing tennis being more focused on in my country since Milos Raonic started making a name for himself a few years ago. The next step in Canadian tennis appears to have been taken, as they took out the defending finalists Spain. Granted, the Spanish team didn't have Nadal, Ferrer, Almagro, Verdasco, or Feliciano Lopez, but it is still an amazing accomplishment for Canada.
In the end, the difference in the outcome of the second singles match between Frank Dancevic and top 35 player Marcel Granollers, in which "Granola" as I call him was the heavy favourite. Frank, whose best tournament came almost six years ago in Montreal when he made the quarterfinals, has had a rough go of things in his career, but has always shown great potential. That potential was realized as he played lights out tennis and beat Granollers 61 62 62. The match made me remember why I like watching Davis Cup - for the journeymen getting their moment in the spotlight by bringing success to their country.
Milos Raonic sealed the deal with a win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (who beat Murray last year in Indian Wells), and for the first time EVER, my nation is in the Davis Cup quarterfinals, where they'll take on Italy. That is a very winnable tie, and if they win it would be monumental. To make a Davis Cup semifinal could possibly put tennis on the map in Canada for good, and nothing would make me happier to see this great game thrive in my homeland.
The highlight from the entire weekend of competition may have been the 7 hour 2 minute doubles match that took place between Czechs Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol and the Swiss team of Stan Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli. It was an unbelievable experience to watch the four guys give every ounce of themselves, and on top of that, it was thrilling tennis even into the sixth and seventh hours. The Swiss team saved 12 match points before succumbing to the 13th - that number shows how hard-fought the match was.
In the end the Federer-less Swiss lost to the Czech squad but there was some good development on the Swiss side. 20 year-old Henri Laaksonen took a set off Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka continued to show his early season inspired form. I do feel bad for Stan in some ways though - he gave so much of himself against Djokovic at the Australian Open and in the Davis Cup and got no positive results from it. Still, I fully believe if he keeps this up, he'll be pushing for a top 10 spot by the end of the year.
Other ties were very interesting. Italy made their first quarterfinal in 15 years. Kazakhstan upset Austria. France, Argentina, and Serbia prove that they are forces to be reckoned with this year. Meanwhile, the US barely got by Brazil even while led by their best team which featured John Isner, Sam Querrey, and the Bryan brothers.
Davis Cup may not be everyone's favourite tennis-related event, but I enjoy it - and this year is sure to have some added drama to it now that Spain is out and there are young and hungry nations vying for newfound success.
Can't wait for April's ties and everything between now and then.