Courier admits to mighty task
Davis Cup captain ready for the "ultimate" task against Spain
Last Updated: September 16, 2012 6:34pm
Jim Courier: Admits his US side have been handed the toughest possible assignment
David Ferrer will lead off for Spain in their Davis Cup semi-final against America on Friday with Sam Querrey his opponent.
The US Open semi-finalist leads the Spanish team - who have won their last 23 home ties in the competition - in the absence of injured Rafael Nadal.
US skipper Jim Courier believes the United States face "the ultimate ask in current Davis Cup tennis" when they take on Alex Corretja's men on clay in Gijon.
Even though current French Open champion Nadal is on the injured list, the Americans still face a daunting task with clay-court specialists Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro available.
"We have the toughest draw you can have in the Davis Cup with the road matches we have faced and this one is the ultimate ask in current Davis Cup tennis," Courier stated.
"Going into Spain, playing them on red clay, they haven't lost in a long, long time.
"We certainly feel like we're going to have a chance, but we also feel like we're not the favourites. We felt that way in the first two matches this year too."
Holding up strongly
Also on Friday, Almagro will face John Isner, a player who, while perhaps not at his best on clay, has been praised as an "incredible" member of the team by his captain.
The US have produced heroics on clay in Davis Cup action already this year, seeing off Switzerland in February when Isner recorded a stunning four-set win over Roger Federer and following that up with a win in France in April.
That carried them through to the clash with the reigning Davis Cup champions, which takes place at the Parque Hermanos Castro venue.
For a team supposedly in transition, they have performed admirably thus far. American hero Andy Roddick retired at the US Open and has not been involved in the Davis Cup this year, while Mardy Fish's health problems have set him back.
Fresh from their grand slam triumph, the Bryan brothers are scheduled to face Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in Saturday's doubles rubber before the reverse singles take place on Sunday.
Friday's other semi-final is between Argentina and the Czech Republic in Buenos Aires while Switzerland's Roger Federer will play Thiemo de Bakker in the opening rubber of the World Group play-off in the Netherlands.
The Swiss need to win the tie to stay in the elite World Group 2013.