From the USTA: (February 23, 2016)The USTA and United States Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier announced that top-ranked American and world No. 11 John Isner, world No. 23 Jack Sock, and 16-time Grand Slam doubles champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will represent the U.S. in the 2016 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round against Australia. The best-of-five match series will be played on an outdoor grass court at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, March 4-6, in Kooyong, Australia.
Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, who retired at this year’s Australian Open and will be making his debut as Australia’s Davis Cup captain, named world No. 21 Bernard Tomic, world No. 33 Nick Kyrgios, world No. 75 Sam Groth, and doubles specialist John Peers to compete against the United States.
Play begins at 11 a.m. local time (7 p.m. ET the day prior) on Friday, March 4, and Sunday, March 6. Play begins on Saturday at 12 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET on Friday). Friday will include two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Saturday’s schedule features the pivotal doubles match. And the final day of play on Sunday features the two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 players square off, followed by the No. 2 players meeting each other in the final match. All matches are best-of-five sets until one nation clinches the tie. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.
The United States has faced Australia in Davis Cup play more times than any country, holding a 25-20 overall record. The last time the Americans and Aussies met was in 1999 in a World Group Quarterfinal tie played in Chestnut Hill, Mass., where the U.S. lost, 4-1. The site of that tie was chosen as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of Davis Cup due to its proximity to the first site of the Davis Cup at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston. The U.S. last defeated Australia in the 1997 World Group Semifinal in Washington D.C., 4-1, behind a team of Pete Sampras, Todd Martin and Michael Chang. The U.S. is 78-46 in ties played on the road.
The winner of this tie advances to the World Group Quarterfinal, July 15-17, and will play either Croatia or Belgium. Should the U.S. defeat Australia, it will host the tie in July. The losing nation will compete in the World Group Playoff, Sept. 16-18, for the right to remain in the World Group in 2017.
Isner, 30, is ranked No. 11 in the current world rankings and will be competing in his 11th Davis Cup tie; he is 8-9 in singles and 2-0 in doubles. His last Davis Cup appearance was in the 2015 World Group First Round against Great Britain. His biggest Davis Cup victory came in 2012, when he defeated Roger Federer in the U.S. Davis Cup team’s first-round win at Switzerland. The tallest player in U.S. Davis Cup history, at 6-foot-10, Isner made his Davis Cup debut in the 2010 World Group First Round in Serbia, where he became the first U.S. player since 2003 to compete in three live rubbers in the same tie. He also represented the U.S. in the 2012 London Olympics, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Federer. Isner turned pro after an outstanding four-year career at the University of Georgia, leading the Bulldogs to the 2007 NCAA team title as a senior. Isner holds 10 career tour singles titles, the last of which came in Atlanta during the 2015 Emirates Airline US Open Series. So far this year, he has reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals of the ATP event in Auckland, New Zealand.
Sock, 23, is ranked No. 23 in the world. He made his Davis Cup debut last September in the World Group Playoff in Uzbekistan, where he won both of his singles matches to keep the U.S. Davis Cup team in the World Group for this year. Sock reached the final of the ATP event in Auckland earlier this year. He won his first career ATP singles title in 2015 at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston, defeating American Sam Querrey in the final. He then reached the fourth round at the 2015 French Open and the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I. He has also thrived in doubles, winning the 2014 Wimbledon doubles title and the 2015 Indian Wells crown with Vasek Pospisil and peaking at a career-high No. 6 in the individual doubles rankings in May 2015; he also reached the doubles quarterfinals of the 2015 French Open and 2016 Australian Open. In 2011, Sock won the US Open mixed doubles title with fellow American Melanie Oudin.
Bob and Mike Bryan, both 37, hold a 23-4 doubles record together in U.S. Davis Cup competition; the 23 wins are first all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history for a tandem. Bob and Mike, the only brothers to pair in victory for the U.S. Davis Cup team, hold the all-time Open era record of most Grand Slam men’s doubles titles (16) and ATP doubles titles (109). In addition, the Bryan brothers won the gold medal in doubles at the 2012 Olympics in London, where they completed a career Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal. The Bryans ended 2014 as the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the world for a record 10th time in 12 years.
Overall, Bob holds a 24-4 doubles record in Davis Cup competition; he is also 4-2 in singles (all dead rubbers). Mike holds a 25-4 record in Davis Cup doubles matches, playing without Bob just twice in his Davis Cup career. Bob did not compete in the 2012 first-round match at Switzerland due to the birth of his daughter, Micaela; in that case, Mike teamed with Mardy Fish to defeat 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalists Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka to clinch the tie. Mike also partnered with Fish in the 2008 semifinal against Spain. Bob played without Mike (food poisoning) in the 2010 first round in Serbia, partnering instead with Fish.
Additionally, U.S. Captain Jim Courier announced the practice partners for the U.S. Davis Cup team—former Ohio State standouts Connor Smith and Peter Kobelt. Smith, 25, graduated from OSU in 2013 after transferring from Florida State after his sophomore season. He went 36-7 in singles and 33-7 in doubles during his senior year. Smith had a breakthrough 2014 on the USTA Pro Circuit and in ITF-level events, winning two USTA Pro Circuit singles titles and a title in Ecuador; he also holds seven USTA Pro Circuit/ITF-level doubles titles. In 2015, Smith won an ITF-level event in Korea, and this year, he competed in Australian Open qualifying for the first time. Kobelt, 25, graduated from OSU in 2014 and finished his college career as just the fourth player in program history to earn All-America honors four times. He also became the program’s all-time career doubles win leader with 142 doubles wins and reached the doubles final of the 2014 NCAA championships with Kevin Metka.