Great Davis Cup Dynasties

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by urban, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Now that Spain has defended their Davis Cup crown, it can be argued, that they have built up a dynasty in terms of successful Davis Cup teams. Looking back at tennis history, there were some great teams like the British team around the Dohertys or the Australasian team around Brookes and Wilding. I see the first real dynasty in the 20s with the US team of Tilden and Johnston, then the French Four Musceteers, then maybe the Brits with Perry, although they had no successor to Perry. The Aussies during the Hopman years had several dynasties, first the team around Sedgman, later that around Hoad and Rosewall, then that around Emerson and Laver. The US team led by Donald Dell in the late 60s and early 70s took advantage of the amateur-pro-split. McEnroe was the leader of a strong US team around 1980, but the team succumbed when he declined. In the 80s, the Swedes built up a real dynasty around Wilander, Edberg and Jarryd, later Svensson and others. Although the Germans, French, Russians and US had their share of wins in DC, they couldn't build up continued success over years. The great US generation of the 90s never committed fully to DC (with the exception of Agassi).
    Maybe some posters can share their thoughts of those teams and dynasties, can add some more teams, who are worth of mentioning, so that we could sharpen our criteria for Davis Cup success.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
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  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The first three teams were clearly the best teams in the world in their time. I was always fascinated by the way the French Musketeers defeated the United States team by wearing down Tilden. It was the changing of the guard in tennis when the French defeated the United States.

    I'm not sure if the Aussies of the 1950's, whether it was the Sedgman led team or the team with Rosewall and Hoad were the best team in the world if you could include the professionals. Perhaps a team of Kramer and Gonzalez, with Riggs, Kovacs and Budge could have been superior in the early 1950's.

    While the United States were a dynasty in the 1960's, clearly the Australians, with Laver, Rosewall, Hoad, Newcombe, Emerson, Stolle would have been the dynasty in place of the United States. This was proven out to a degree when the Australian team of 1973 defeated the Stan Smith, Tom Gorman, Erik Van Dillen team by a whitewash of 5-0. Smith was excellent in both singles matches but lost to an inspired Laver and Newcombe.

    The doubles match that Laver and Newcombe played against Smith and Van Dillen was one of the greatest doubles performances I have ever seen. According to Newcombe, Laver's backhand return against Smith was the greatest backhand return he ever saw. Newcombe described it as going at warp speed. After that return the American team was demoralized and realized that they were in over their heads. Needless to say, the Aussies won the doubles in straight sets. Van Dillen said on the doubles,"I think if I had had eight arms we might not have won." "You get out there and find it's tough that your best shots are coming back at you better than they left."

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1088126/1/index.htm

    Some have called the 1973 Australian team the greatest ever. Maybe but I have my doubts about that. Newcombe was in his prime but Laver was old at age 35 and Rosewall was 39. Still it was a fantastic team. Laver was magnificent against Smith and in the doubles. Perhaps a Laver/Rosewall Davis Cup team around 1966 or 1965 would have been the greatest ever.

    The 1984 Davis Cup final was interesting in that it brought the "Dream Team" of Connors and McEnroe (in his best year) together for the first time against the Swedish dynasty. The Dream Team had a nightmare in losing to Sweden on clay. The Connor/McEnroe team up didn't exactly have the best chemistry to be polite about it. On paper it should have been a great team.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPEkbJH_gWE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zKYx4j2dfo&feature=related
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
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  3. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Yes, pc 1, speaking of the so called Dream teams. Not only the 1984 US team, but also the 1997 US team with Sampras and Chang, as Nr. 1 and 2 in the world, was seen as unbeatable, only to lose 0-5 to the Swedes. You are of course right about the situation in the 50s, when a virtual US team consisting of Gonzalez, Kramer, Segura and Trabert would be at least an even bet against the Aussies. The pros played a team event for the Kramer Cup for some years around 1960, where the Aussie pros did very well. I think, Ken Rosewall still has this Cup in his garage. And since 1970, the US and Australia played a Team Cup at Hartford with 6 singles and 3 doubles. Again the Aussies almost always won it.
     
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  4. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    The Aetna World Cup was a fun television event in those day. I enjoyed it immensely. We often talk about the prestige of majors during certain times but I would venture to say that the Aetna World Cup between the US and Australian was very important in those times. Unfortunately it was only between two countries but the players are legendary. Rosewall, Laver, Newcombe, Smith, Ashe, Roche etc. Connors played in it later but the Aussies were now an old team and I don't think they were a match for the team that was led by Ashe and Connors.
     
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  5. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    A main aspect for DC success is something called team spirit. The Swedes had it, the Spaniards have it now. They train together on the tour, they get along well in between. When the main man gets injured, someone other steps up and makes the point, even under difficult circumstances against the on paper better team of Argentina last year.
    Remember the old French troup. For a player of the caliber of Borotra is must have been extremely difficult, not to get a singles place with Cochet and Lacoste in the team. Yet he remained quiet and did his duty in doubles. Much later, Noah and Leconte never got along very well in their active playing time, and that may have cost them a DC victory.
    The US players often were more individualistic. I don't know, if such big egos like Kramer and Gonzalez would have formed a really great team. It's possible, but they could also have suffered the same fate as Connors and Mac in 1984. Ashe once wrote, that the Aussies instantly became other, better players, when they heard the umpire calling Australia instead of their names. He lost to old Emerson at the Aetna Cup, although he had beaten him several times before. Emmo turned into a younger version of himself, when doing his team duty.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
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  6. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Great point. I think Rosewall trained with Laver in 1973 and raised the level of Rod's game.

    Kramer and Gonzalez as a team probably would have been very volatile, to say the least.
     
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  7. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Yes, as team sports like soccer show, great players don't make always great teams. Although tennis is a individualistic sport even in Davis Cup, some sentiments and anti-sentiments within a team play a big role. Take Germany's heroes Becker and Stich. Both won the DC, but alone, never together on one team. Too great was their rivalry. When one trained, the other one left the court. There was always some frosty atmosphere between them. Boris did better with much lesser players like Jehlen, who accepted the second fiddle. Maybe a Gonzalez would have fared better with younger upcoming newcomers, whom he could show, who the leading wolf was.
    The team aspect was implemented into the Aussies at an early age. The young junior amateurs toured and travelled together with the leading stars under the tutelage of Hopman. The darker side was a strong pecking order in the Hopman era. The juniors were somewhat like servants, had to string the rackets or squeeze oranges for their captains. The juniors had always a sort of father complex, when playing their older captains in tournaments. Rosewall never broke away from Sedgman, Laver had problems with Fraser, Newcombe with Emerson and Laver. Nowadays, it shines through in the Spanish team. Players like Verdasco or Almagro can challenge Nadal, but at the crucial moments they choke, probably out of respect for their capitano.
     
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  8. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Italy in 70´s.The worst case ever of bad luck as far as DC teams are concerned.Four back to back finals in one decade, and NONE of them at home ( still won 1 title)
     
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  9. Kirijax

    Kirijax Hall of Fame

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    Great thread. I love the Davis Cup and always follow it closely. The Davis Cup has a fantastic website and it also owns one of the most awesome trophies in all of sports. It may not be a must event for some top players, but it definitely is one of the biggest titles in tennis IMHO. The atmosphere is great and its just a whole different sport. If I never won a Grand Slam but was able to win a Davis Cup as a pro, I would call my career a success. That's how strongly I feel about the Davis Cup.
     
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  10. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Australia's Dynasty:
    1950-53, 1955-57, 1959-62, 1964-67, 1973.

    Domination with some awe.
     
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  11. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    See the new article on tennis.com about the 1973 final and campaign.
     
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  12. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Can you be more specific, please?
     
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  13. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    many golden moments, specilly in the 20´s and middle 50´s with Hoad and Rosewall against trabert and Seixas

    As for drama, nothing comes close to the 71 and 72 USA vs Romania finals, specially the second one.
     
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  14. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    It's incredible how much depth Sweden had in both singles and doubles when they reached 7 straight finals from 1983-1989 and won 3 titles in 4 years from 1984-1987, for such a small country.
     
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  15. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    South African tennis was banned from DC play since 1978 till the end of apartheid.Look at a possible mid 80´s team with Curren,Kriek and doubs specialists van Rensburg and Stein.Not bad on fast surfaces
     
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