I am a great fan of the tennis nation of Kazakhstan. It might seem cold and corporate to some, but I like the fact that they care enough about their tennis prowess to go and buy players like Golubev and Korolev and Shvedova to play for them. I appreciate that they care that much about tennis.
But I do, I confess, get a little bit upset when they go and take a 2-0 leave in a relegation tie over my beloved Switzerland.
The Big Swissie isn't there, of course - understandably, due to the whole semis in New York thing (see yesterday's rant) - but Stan Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli are. I expected Golubev to beat Chiudinelli - we all know that Golubev is a) awesome and b) one of my special favourites, making him even more awesome - but Stan? losing in five sets to Mikhail Kukushkin?
Excuse me while my eyes fall out of my head in surprise.
Stan, following you can be incredibly frustrating. Quite aside from your being second banana to my beloved R-Fed, I like watching you play - your backhand is artistry. If you and Gasquet ever played a backhand exhibition match, I would so be in that. I was super happy when you made the quarters of the US Open - that is genuinely a fantastic result.
But it kind of puts a dampener on it when you go and pull a stunt like this.
Despite the fact that Davis Cup is really, really hard to care about, I'm really genuinely annoyed with this result. And I'm a bit annoyed with R-Fed for not playing. Switzerland should be kicking Kazakhstan's arse in this tie and it's just not happening. The whole missing Roger and brainfarting Stan thing is leading to a real misrepresentation of the tennis prowess of Switzerland, and that is frustrating. (Now, if they changed the scheduling and the format...)
But that, I suppose, is the nature of tennis.
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago