A buddy e-mailed me over the weekend about the U.S. success in Switzerland.
“Is this how the world ends?” he wrote.
Bob Bryan sitting out from doubles. Mr. Davis Cup, Andy Roddick, out as well. Mardy Fish, coming off a first-round loss in the Australian Open, as the U.S.’ great hope. The Americans facing Switzerland — Roger Federer, Stan Wawinka — in Fribourg. On clay.
Save Novak Djokovic suddenly gaining Swiss citizenship, you could not have stacked the odds any higher for the U.S. men to beat, let alone sweep, Switzerland in this weekend’s first-round Davis Cup matchup.
But somehow they did it.
John Isner beat Roger Federer. Shocking enough by itself, and then, in four sets. And did we mention on clay? The surface in which Federer beat Djokovic at last year’s French Open, giving the world No.1 his only loss in a Grand Slam in 2011. Isner, subbing in for Roddick, called it, “the win of my life.”
Even more amazing might be Fish’s resurgence after an awful showing in Melbourne, losing to 7-6 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (6) to that one guy who almost beat Roger Federer in the first round of Wimbledon years ago, Alejandro Falla.
Fish came from two sets down and took out the always tough, always scrappy Wawrinka, 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 9-7.
Think about how the American men finished Davis Cup in 2011: With a loss. At home. On the fast indoor courts in Austin, Texas.
Fish lost a sloppy five-setter to Feliciano Lopez. Lost a tough, nasty four-set match against David Ferrer. Don’t think that played in his head at all?
All this when Federer decides to play the first round of Davis Cup since 2004. All this when America hadn’t swept anybody since its first-round sweep over Austria in the same year.
Is the world ending? Crazier things have happened.