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Fritz, Tiafoe and Paul lead American charge at Davis Cup missing top doubles player Ram
The United States take on Italy in the Final 8 at the Davis Cup Finals on Thursday
The United States, the most successful nation in the history of the Davis Cup, that has touched down in Malaga for the Final 8 this week consists of three quality singles players – Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul – as well as doubles standout Jack Sock.
However, the team’s final roster has come under scrutiny with captain Mardy Fish opting to leave top-ranked American doubles player Rajeev Ram from the team.
Fritz, who comes in from Turin where he competed at the season-ending ATP Finals for the first time, is the top-ranked American at No 9 in the world and will be joined by Tiafoe, ranked No 19, and Paul, ranked No 33 in the world.
Sock is the fourth highest ranked American player behind Ram, Austin Krajicek and John Isner, but has been handpicked by Fish, who wants him to team up with one of his three singles specialists for the doubles matches.
I told him that he is still very much in my plans for future Davis Cup ties and beyond” – Captain Fish on Rajeev Ram
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Fish spoke about his decision to leave Ram off the team, saying it was a one-off and that the world No 3 in doubles is very much part of his plans for the future.
“I want to put a different doubles team on the court, period.” Fish said. “Rajeev and I are great friends. We had multiple conversations as well. Rajeev has been a phenomenal player for us. This is a different roster this specific time. We have Davis Cup next year. I told him that he is still very much in my plans for future ties and beyond. Obviously we play every year. I have been the only captain, I will say, the only captain to call him and to be a part of the team. So I think that speaks volumes in terms of what I think of him as a player.”
FIsh added that there’s a lot more that goes into the making of a team than just rankings. “The doubles, speaking specifically about the doubles, I think the world of him in terms of his (Rajeev) game. Obviously he’s one of the best players in the world. But matching, putting a team together isn’t as simple as just taking a player that’s ranked high and put him with another player and just hope that they do well. They have had success. They have won some matches; they have lost some matches. I think they are a good team together. But this tie or this competition, quarterfinals and on, we’re going to go with a different team.”
The United States take on Italy in the quarter-finals later today.