I saw this article today on ESPN's Tennis page; it's certainly an interesting read. Federer's Davis Cup futureby: James Martin, TENNIS.com posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 Last weekend could have been a huge moment in tennis. No, I'm not talking about the Davis Cup round between the U.S. and the Czech Republic -- though props to P-Mac's team for finally winning an away tie on clay, something the U.S. hadn't done in a decade. I'm talking about the DC between Spain and Switzerland. In theory, it promised the first matchup between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the impassioned Davis Cup format. In reality, we got Spain's Fernando Verdasco against some dude named Marco Chiudinelli. For the record, Nadal traveled to Geneva before pulling out with an injury. At least he made the effort. Federer announced in November that he had no intention of playing. He said that the first round didn't fit in with his goal of maintaining the No. 1 ranking. Never mind that the Mighty Fed could go on vacation for months to his favorite R&R retreat, Dubai, and still be watching the competition from the rear-view mirror. Come to think of it, that's exactly where he was, Dubai. But Fed was there on business with his best new buddy, Tiger Woods, schilling for his latest endorsement, Gillette. Of course, there was the obligatory photo op -- Roger and Tiger, sitting in chairs, looking smugly self-contented, shaving their mugs. All that was missing from picture e-mailed out by the PR firm Alan Taylor Communications was the caption, "Damn, we're smooth." Full disclosure: I'm a huge Federer fan. And I applaud the way he's become the ambassador for the sport. Which made this cheesy Dubai trip all the more disappointing. This is the reason Federer's skipping Davis Cup, and against Spain no less, I thought. For someone who professes to love tennis tradition as much as Federer does, it's odd that he has such a dispassionate attitude toward the competition that's been around for over 100 years and helped make legends out of his idols -- Laver, Rosewall, et al. It's interesting to note that Pete Sampras was in a similar situation at about the same stage of his career. Up until 1995, his Davis Cup record was less than stellar. But Sampras eventually understood that being on a winning Davis Cup team is part of allure of the game's all-timers. So that year, he fully committed to the competition, winning all six of his starts. The masterpiece was the final, in Moscow, where he beat Andrei Chesnokov in a classic five-set win before collapsing on court. He also won his doubles match, and clinched the Cup in the reverse singles. Pete cared. Roger should. In Federer's defense, he's played 41 Davis Cup singles and doubles matches. But he's not been on a winning team -- not even close. Perhaps he can't muster the enthusiasm when he knows he'll be playing alongside guys named Chiudinelli. But this is Davis Cup, and one great player can carry a country. In the end, if Federer wants to retire with the most lustrous of records, he'll have to learn what Pete did. To be considered an all-time player, you must make a committed charge at the Cup, if not win it. That might mean fewer photo ops, but in the long run Federer will be the richer for it.