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Busted Racquet

Jim Courier embraces the underdog approach for US in Davis Cup

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The United States will face defending champion Spain in a Davis Cup semifinal this September after surprising France this weekend 3-2 thanks to two singles wins by John Isner.

The Spaniards have won three of the past four championships and even if Rafael Nadal sits out, as expected, the team will be a heavy favorite to advance to November's final. American captain Jim Courier is all too happy to remind folks that his team will be the underdog.

Here's a sampling of Captain Courier's quotes after the US pulled off a second-straight Davis Cup upset on European clay.

"Spain, we'll probably lose it on paper ... but we don't play them on paper. We've got players who are capable, passionate and hungry."

Playing on paper might be preferable to the slow clay that Spain will undoubtedly choose for the semifinal. Then again, John Isner defeated Federer on that bizarre clay surface in Switzerland and nearly took out Rafael Nadal last year at the French Open, so who knows?

"We've had the worst draw you could possibly imagine. I'm shocked that we're still in the Davis Cup this year."

Courier speaks the truth. His US team had to beat Switzerland and France, team that have a total of six players combined in top 30 of ATP rankings. The other three semifinalists played teams with the same number of top 30 players (and three of those played for the same team -- Serbia).

"We're going to be the underdog in Spain, but we're going to come with guns blazing."

Metaphorically, he means, hopefully.

"Anytime you step on the court against Spain they're tough no matter who they're bringing. They beat us at home last year without Rafa, on hard court, indoors. They have been the best team in the world for the past decade."

Courier will decide on his lineup later this summer. Isner presumably will be on the team and the second singles spot will be taken by either Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick or Ryan Harrison. With Isner playing the best tennis of his life, could another clay court upset be in the works? By the way Jim Courier is talking, you get the sense that he believes it's coming.

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