About 45 minutes after the Bryan brothers did what they were supposed to do
and dismantled Igor Andreev and Nikolay Davydenko to clinch the 2007 Davis Cup for the US, the entire US Davis Cup team appeared in the media center for a press conference.
It looked like they had made the most of those 45 minutes
. They were all completely drenched, frequently taking sips out of yellow cups, and the whole room instantly smelled like the living room of my college house on a Sunday morning. Here's Andy Roddick making his way into the room:
Andy Roddick and James Blake couldn't stop giggling
to each other the whole time, and about 3/4 of the way through the conference they had someone bring them two fresh yellow cups
The doubles match that preceded this soaked sit-down was interesting for about an hour. The Russians, very heavy underdogs
going into the match, forced a tiebreaker in the first set, and when they went up three points to one in the breaker it felt like there was the faintest hint that something intriguing could happen.
Then the Bryan brothers took over, coming back to win the tiebreaker 7-4 and the next two sets 6-4 and 6-2, sending Memorial Coliseum into a fireworks and tinsel-fueled celebration.
I got to watch the madness this afternoon with fellow WWer Kelly Clarke, and she had some incredible insights
into the spectacle unfolding in front of us.
And, we got to share some of the media food
. I loaded up a plate and brought it up to the stadium for us, but I realized when I got up there I wasn't sure exactly what to do with what was on the plate:
What we have there is some pasta
, some vegetables
, and what I thought was a sauce
for the pasta (and a cookie). But they were all in separate dishes on the buffet line, and as we ate more the specific purposes of the food became more unclear. I think what I thought was "pasta sauce" was actually a "cold dip of some kind."
Moving on. One phenomenon that we were pretty interested in today was the Bryans' chest-bumping
. They're famous for their non-stop spasticity--they never stop moving, chattering to each other on the court, giving each other high-fives, and, when the moment is big enough, they break out the big guns
: the chest bump. We tried to break down the differences in their bumps as the match went on.
Check out the first bump of the match, after they won the last point of the first set. Notice the long approaches
and the perfect form
Graceful, and nearly flawless. Kelly dubbed it the "Milli Vanilli
." Now, compare that with this next one, after they broke serve to go up 2-1 in the third and final set. It has a bit of an improvised feel
to it, with a much shorter approach
Now things get a little more complicated. Watch what happened after the brothers broke again to go up 5-2 in the same set:
It looked like there was a bit of miscommunication on that one. The brother on the right was clearly looking for a bump, but they may not have been on the same page. Kelly called this one the "secret side-bump
Finally, here's what happened on the last point of the match. The brothers' jump/hug leads directly into a "Team USA Group Bump
" (and a party at Memorial Coliseum). Incredible.
So the US wins the Davis Cup title
for the first time in 12 years. I'm not sure what tomorrow will be like--Roddick and Blake both have to play singles matches which mean absolutely nothing
now that the tie is clinched (these matches, unbelievably enough, are sometimes referred to
as "dead rubbers"), which might not be a lot of fun for them if the press conference was any indication of what they have ahead of them tonight. The matches are shortened to best two out of three sets (from three out of five), and the players have got to be itching to get home and relax
for a couple weeks before the 2008 season starts in January, so it's pretty hard to imagine seeing a lot of passion on the court.
But there will be more free food, and I feel like the chance to see America's best tennis players play a match hung over
shouldn't be missed, so I'll be here.
Finally, it's been fun seeing a few familiar faces from TV around the media center. I was standing next to legendary tennis columnist/commentator Bud Collins
at one of the press conferences yesterday, and when it was over I walked behind him back to the press tables. I had to do a double-take when I saw him sit down, open his laptop, and...
That's Bud's computer! I've never seen anything like it! Genius!
Follow our live coverage of the Davis Cup here.