The 2009 Potter Cup is in the books, and the USIC team made an excellent showing. But as Captain Emeritus Jeff Winkler predicted, the 2008 Spanish
team runners up came loaded for bear in 2009! To make matters worse, through the vagaries of the expanded 10 team draw, our improved US team matched up with Spain in the first round. At line 1, Joey Rive played an inspiring match against former ATP 23 Jordi Arrese, giving him his toughest test of the week losing 7-6, 6-1. Joey really had Arrese missing on his favorite surface - his backyard. Kevin Gillette at line two had a long tough 3 setter against Miguel Puigdevall, who also won the rest of the matches. At line three, Peter Smith had a match up with recent World Champion Eduard Osta and the 6-4, 6-1 score could have easily have reversed. Much closer than it appears.
Our President, Dan Waldman drew former #33 in the world Fernando Luna, and played an excellent second set 6-0, 7-5. El Presidente came within 2 points of the second set and if Luna had not played perfectly, it was apparent that Dan had the edge fitness wise. At #5, Brucie Lipka ran into Jesus Colas, losing 6-0, 6-2. Jesus decided to wait until the second set to miss a ball.
The strength of our team was demonstrated from there on as we did not lose another match. The US beat Belgium 5-0 with Dan sitting out and Stephan Hagerup winning at 5. This is the same Belgium that the US beat last year 4-3.
Our final match for the 5th and 6th was against a strong German team that lost to Great Britain in a match that was decided by a hamstring injury a game away from victory. Joey beat Stephan Fasthoff in a 3rd set super tie-break in another great match. Peter beat former European Champion Norbert Henn 6-0, 6-2 and Stephan Hagerup beat a good player in Peter Dinckels 6-3, 6-0. Kevin and Bruce ended with walkovers midway through the first set in each.
While Fifth place is not the position we would have liked to finish, I can report that our team was very competitive: if a couple of breaks went our way against Spain, we would have had a very different result. The final standings were as follows:
2 Great Britain
5 United States
Finally, it has been an honor for me to be around such a fine team and to have a great experience at the Potter Cup. It truly is in the spirit of the IC. While we did not come away with the Cup, we are very close, and I look forward to great things next year!