WASHINGTON, September 12, 2018 (by Michael Dickens)
U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier said Jack Sock would miss this weekend’s Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinal tie against Croatia at Zadar, Croatia, due to a hip injury that the World No. 2 doubles player sustained last week at the U.S. Open.
Courier made the announcement during a joint captain’s press conference on Wednesday. He said that Sock injured his hip while playing doubles with Mike Bryan during their U.S. Open semifinal match last Thursday. The No. 3 seeds, Sock and Bryan, won the U.S. Open doubles championship the next day by defeating No. 7 seeds Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil, 6-3, 6-1.
Replacing Sock is Ryan Harrison, who was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team earlier this year during the American’s quarterfinal-round tie victory over Belgium.
“Jack and I spoke after the doubles final, and Ryan was standing by,” said Courier. “He knew that he would be the next player that would come if there were any injuries, which is always a risk in Davis Cup. So, it was handled pretty quickly.
“Ryan is here with the team and will be replacing Jack. We’ll have the formal announcement tomorrow once we put in our final nominations for the team.”
Sock, ranked No. 2 in the world in doubles and No. 17 in singles, was expected to team with World No. 1 Bryan. Now, it remains to be seen who Courier will slot into Saturday’s doubles rubber with Bryan, who came out of Davis Cup retirement to play this weekend. The U.S. team, which also includes Sam Querrey, Steve Johnson and Frances Tiafoe, has plenty of depth and versatility, and any of them – plus Harrison – could fill the void left by Sock’s absence.
“It’s a factor in Davis Cup all the time, having to be prepared for these last-minute changes,” said Courier. “It’s something that every Davis Cup captain and every Davis Cup team has to manage, because as you know injuries are a part of this game. It’s not something we look forward to, but it’s certainly something we’re accustomed to.”
U.S.-Croatia captain’s quotes
• U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier was asked about Croatia’s previous success (4-0) against the Americans in Davis Cup competition: “We’re not here to play in the past; we’re here to compete for the present. If the past was prolonged, we may as well hand the United States the Davis Cup trophy. We know we have to earn it. Croatia will feel the same way. They know they can’t rely on the past to help them this weekend. Tennis balls here have no idea what happened in the past. We’re here to compete hard from the first ball to last ball, and we’ll try to take care of business here in 2018.”
• Croatia Davis Cup captain Zeljko Krajan was asked about the mood of his team: “Honestly, very positive; we have a really good team. We respect the situation we are in. The semifinals are the four best teams of the year, so we respect everybody and it’s very great teams that’s left. But surely we have all the best players we will have this weekend, which is good for us. With Mate (Pavic) coming back, we would call it our ‘Dream Team’ for sure. I think we are looking pretty good ahead of the weekend.”
• Krajan was asked why he thinks Croatia is undefeated against the U.S.: “It’s tough to say. I just hope that it continues playing against the (United) States, and I guess it’s sooner or later (that) defeat is going to come. I hope it’s not going to come this time, but surely there’s something special in the air that suits our game from the U.S. players.”