Sweden is set to host the United States in the semifinal round of this year's Davis Cup men's team tennis competition. The two nations are extending their long Davis Cup history that dates back to 1946. And as VOA's Jim Stevenson reports, the winner of this best of five match series beginning Friday in Gothenburg goes to the 2007 final.
Sweden and the United States are meeting for the 12th time in Davis Cup play. This is their fourth semifinal meeting. But they have also gone head to head in two Davis Cup finals, in 1984 and 1997. Overall, the U.S. men have an 8-3 record over the Swedes and also won their last meeting at the 2004 World Group quarterfinals.
All three of Sweden's victories against the Americans have come on the indoor carpet at the Scandinavium in Gothenburg. So it comes as no surprise to U.S. coach Patrick McEnroe that the Swedes again chose the same venue for the tie that runs from September 21 through the 23.
"I think going to Sweden is a tough match," said Patrick McEnroe. "Every match in Davis Cup has its own challenges and can be tricky in different ways. So these guys are dedicated and really into it. I think we have a great chance. But we have to go over there and hope that after the U.S. Open we are all good. And the guys come off a great U.S. Open and are ready to take it to them in Sweden. There is still that match to win. And hopefully one more."
Every Davis Cup team faces home and away matches as the event progresses. McEnroe and his team enjoy the challenges that brings.
"That is the beauty of Davis Cup," he said. "And that is the challenge of it. We have won one match already away on clay, which was a huge win for us in the Czech Republic. And now we have got to win one more. And if things break right, and we win that, I think if we get to play the final at home, that would be pretty darn big and a great chance for us."
If the United States defeats Sweden, the team would have the opportunity to play for its first Davis Cup title since 1995. And there is a chance that could happen on U.S. soil, adding extra incentive for the Americans.
The other Davis Cup semifinal features defending champion Russia hosting Germany in Moscow. The Davis Cup finals are November 30 through December 2.