After spending the last decade as the United States’ Davis Cup captain, Patrick McEnroe has decided to stand down from the job. Within just minutes of the New Yorker announcing his resignation, electioneering to become his replacement had begun with four distinct candidates; Jim Courier, Todd Martin, Brad Gilbert and Jay Berger.
McEnroe will bow out as captain after the upcoming World Group play-off tie against Columbia in Bogata (September 17-19) when he hopes a line-up of John Isner, Sam Querrey, Mardy Fish and teenager Ryan Harrison will be strong enough to preserve U.S. status in the competition’s elite level which extends unbroken back to 1988.
The 44 year-old, who succeeded his elder brother John as U.S. captain, cited his reasons for resigning as wanting to concentrate on his roles as the United States’ Tennis Association’s General Manager of the Player Development Program and prominent face of ESPN’s tennis coverage. He also wants to dedicate more time to his family; wife Melissa Errico and daughters Victoria Penny, Juliette and Diana.
“Obviously it's mixed emotions for me because of what Davis Cup has meant to me for 10 years, to the players that have supported it," said McEnroe, who captained the long standing U.S. team of Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan brothers to the Davis Cup title in 2007, so ending the nation’s longest ever period without victory that stretched back to 1995.
"But I feel now is a good time for a transition, and I can focus on my professional energies, player development, and obviously will still be very involved with the team and who plays on the team and supporting the guys that are part of the team."
In terms of ties won, McEnroe is the second most successful captain in American history. He currently boasts a 16-9 record and victory in Columbia will put him just one win behind all time leader Tom Gorman.
McEnroe is clearly held with high regard by the USTA hierarchy and Jim Curley, the USTA's chief professional tournaments officer, said: “Patrick changed the culture of Davis Cup in the United States, creating a true team environment and a sense of camaraderie that the U.S. has never before seen. He has been a champion of the competition in every sense of the word, and elevated the stature of the event in this country."
Courier was the first of the potential candidates to throw his name into the ring. During his broadcasting duties for CBS at the US Open he said: “Davis Cup means the world to me.
“At some point in my life I certainly hope to have that seat. I'm definitely interested in the job so hopefully they will give me a call and we'll chat about it.”