Andy Murray‘s triple bagel of a poor Luxembourg player this past month highlighted how much a nation needs more than just 1 good player to succeed in Davis Cup. We’re used to the traditional powerhouse nations of Germany, France, Spain, USA, Argentina and Italy producing dozens of good to great players. But who is punching above their weight and is there any hope or the future of these tennis minnows?
Top Player: Jarkko ‘The Flying Finn’ Nieminen (50)
Outlook?: Bad – It’s been remarkable that Nieminen has done so well;
Top Player: Marcos ‘Bombs Over’ Baghdatis (31)
Outlook?: None whatsoever. Marcos will be a national hero for the rest of his life.
Top Player: Grigor Dimitrov (64)
Outlook?: Not much going on right now, but Grigor could have an effect on Bulgaria’s interest in tennis again.
Top Player: Gilles Muller (93)
Outlook?: Forget about it. The next and only ranked player is at 965. No wonder Muller is always scowling.
5. Chinese Tapei (Taiwan)
Top Player: Yen-Hsun Lu (54)
Outlook?: Look out Jimmy Wang is coming! Moving up the rankings, Jimmy will be a big help for Lu in Davis Cup, so Taiwan hangs in there punching above it’s weight.
Top Player: Denis ‘The Menace’ Istomin (61)
Outlook?: It’s a big country but I’m not sure how good the tennis facilities are, so it’s all on Denis as far as the eye can see right now.
Top Player: Ernests Gulbis (74)
Outlook?: Gulbis is it. Let’s hope he has a long career for Latvia’s sake. Sadly, with his temperament, it seems unlikely.
Top Player: Dudi ‘Where’s My Car’ Sela (81)
Outlook?: Somewhat. Israel have a crack doubles team in Andy Ram and Harel Levy, but it looks bleak in singles with the next player down ranked 211 in Amir Weintraub.
Top Player: Milos ‘Baby Face’ Raonic (26)
Outlook?: Frank Dancevic has always shown some potential, but he’s yet to make a serious breakthrough. Old man Nestor (Daniel) of course is arguably one of the greatest doubles player of all time, so they’re hanging in there for now and Raonic is sure to inspire a new generation of Canadian youth.
Top Player: Robin Soderling (5)
Outlook?: Bleak. It seems that Sweden as a nation have lost their spark for tennis. Some good doubles players in Simon Aspelin, Robert Lindstedt and Michael Ryderstedt but really, when Soderling retires who will there be?