The pressure builds on Andy Roddick as the USA host Spain in his hometown.

USA and Spain meet for the tenth time with the Americans holding a slim 5-4 lead. This will be the first time these two powerhouse nations have met since the semifinals in Madrid in 2008, which the Spaniards won 4-1. Interestingly, Spain has never defeated USA on away soil. Andy Roddick had been lobbying hard for this tie to be held in his hometown, Austin, and he is certainly playing the host to the rest of his teammates – captain Jim Courier, Wimbledon quarterfinalist Mardy Fish and world No. 1 doubles pair Bob and Mike Bryan.

Roddick held a BBQ at his new home for the team to celebrate the 4th of July and he is incredibly proud that he is able to show his fellow Austinites what this great competition is all about. “Once Austin kind of fit the bill for this tie, to see the fans come out, tickets sell out in an hour, it almost validated the effort,” Roddick said. “I was real happy to see the support Austin and central Texas has been giving this event as far as selling out, as far as the excitement. It’s just nice to see excitement for tennis in this area of the world.” The 16,269 fans at Frank Erwin Center will need to be in full voice because even though Rafael Nadal is on the sidelines for this tie, the team that Spain brings to this very Spanish speaking state is still incredibly powerful.

Spain’s captain Albert Costa leads with world No.6 David Ferrer alongside the experienced Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, who beat Roddick at Wimbledon a fortnight ago, and Marcel Granollers. Courier said the team has no mixed feelings about Nadal not being in Austin. They must concentrate on who is across the net and that’s all that matters. “We have a job to do, we need to win three matches,” said Courier, who is in his second tie as captain after USA’s win over Chile in March. “We don’t control who they bring, we just have to control our efforts. We have a task on hand, and that doesn’t change.” Costa acknowledges that this will be a difficult weekend saying playing in Roddick’s home and “his public and his country” is something they will work to rise above. “I have complete trust in these four men in my team and I know they will give 100 per cent on the court and for sure we will try to give our maximum level and we will see what happens,” Costa said.

“The guys have been practicing pretty, the court is a bit fast, the ball is a little light and the conditions are quick, but this is normal because they can choose what they want and they feel good with these conditions. We are trying to practice every day and we are trying to get used and the guys are doing a very good job. We will be ready for Friday.”


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