The American team that will take on Chile for the fifth time in the first round of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is a combination of experience and a touch of newish blood. Twenty years after his debut as a player in the first round against Mexico in Mexico City, Jim Courier makes his debut as a captain in Santiago. As a player Jim Courier had a very solid record in Davis Cup. Other than his last tie, which was against Australia in Boston in 1999, every time he was in the USA side, they won and there were 13 of those team triumphs. His win-loss record as a player was 16-10 in singles and 1-0 in doubles. Courier has transitioned from player to team coach to captain, a career he is naturally very proud of. He joked that the “way my body feels” he’s more than happy to be on the bench and let others do the work. “As far as being captain, this is a great gig obviously when you get guys like this on your team, who love Davis Cup, they love to be here, they love to support United States tennis,” Courier said. “They are ready to go to battle and give everything they’ve got. It’s a huge honour, a thrill. Sure, I am on the learning curve this week as well. I think we will be in good shape. I am very comfortable and at ease with all of these guys already and hoping they feel the same way. My job is to stay out of their way.”
Courier leads the massively experienced Andy Roddick, the still developing John Isner and the world’s best doubles combination Bob and Mike Bryan. Roddick is returning to the fold after taking a year off from Davis Cup, Isner has played just two ties before, while the Bryans have never lost a Davis Cup doubles rubber on red clay, the chosen surface at the Estadio Nacional.