Before a ball was struck at the 2012 Davis Cup final in Prague's own O2 Arena, the players and coaches from the Czech and Spanish squads began volleying verbally. First to tee off: Tomas Berdych, to no one's surprise. The world's No. 6 pro called periodic nemesis Nicolas Almagro, himself the ATP's No. 11 player, "the weak link" for the Armada. Then Spanish Tennis Federation honcho Xisco (coolest moniker in the sport?) labeled the incredibly fast indoor hard court akin to "an ice rink." The once self-labeled "cow on ice" herself, Maria Sharapova, when reached for comment, said, "I'll be the judge of that.*
Meanwhile, Feliciano Lopez preened publicly about being left out of the lineup for Team Spain, a captain's decision that makes complete sense, really. David Ferrer and Almagro are Nos. 5 and 11, and Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez just won the ATP World Tour Finals doubles championship. What's more, the squawky Granollers is himself No. 33 in the rankings to Lopez's No. 40. Long story long, "Deliciano" doesn't really have a leg to stand on with respect to Alex Corretja's heady choice.
For those with short memories—not a bad thing for tennis players and fans alike—here's the backstory on Berdych vs. Almagro from this year's Australian Open:
Granted, Berdych flopped to the court in the incident like a soccer or basketball player trying to fake a foul; it was something of an acting job on his part. The Melbourne crowd basically agreed, or simply would not accept the idea of a player of any caliber participating in their beloved Grand Slam event and disrespecting his foe (and the spirit of the game?) by avoiding a post-match handshake. In the end, Berdych took that encounter, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6.
*Sharapova said nothing of the sort.
—Jonathan Scott (@jonscott9)