For those of us who live here, Boise's 2,871 feet of elevation is barely a thought.
For tennis stars, this might as well be a mountaintop.
That's one key reason the Davis Cup will descend upon Boise this week with a quarterfinal tie between the U.S. and Serbia set for Friday through Sunday at Taco Bell Arena.
The American team is loaded with tall, aggressive, big-serving players whose fast-moving shots will zip a touch faster half a mile above sea level.
"It's controllable altitude, but the ball will move through the court, bounce higher, get onto the players quicker," U.S. captain Jim Courier said. "It's typically pretty good for an offensive player."
As host, the U.S. was allowed to select the site, conditions and playing surface (indoor hard court). Home-court advantage in this international competition isn't just about crowd support and travel - it's a chance to manipulate the environment.
With two evenly matched teams - and facing the world's No. 1 player for just the third time in U.S. Davis Cup history - Courier and his players were looking for an edge. Boise's altitude provided the answer.
"Tennis players are very meticulous," Boise State men's tennis coach Greg Patton said. " Great tennis players try to avoid a little bit of altitude. Courier, he's trying to get every advantage."
Said Serbia's Novak Djokovic, the world's best player: "(The altitude) goes to favor obviously the American team. That's why they chose there, because of the big serves of John Isner and Sam Querrey."
How strange will the altitude feel?
The ATP World Tour spent the past three and a half weeks in Indian Wells, Calif., and Miami - two cities with less than 100 feet of elevation.
The four majors - the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open - are played in cities with no more than 115 feet of elevation.
And of the eight players on the two teams that are scheduled to begin practice Sunday in Boise, only Querrey (Las Vegas: 2,174 feet) lives at an elevation of more than 400 feet.
"You're going to get bigger serves," Patton said. "We feel like we can get the Serbs a little bit out of their comfort zone."
Big serves are the Americans' game.
Isner hits serves in excess of 140 mph and has led the tour in aces two of the past three seasons.
Querrey fires serves in the mid-130s.
The rest of the participants are around 130.
This week, all of those speeds should increase.
"The air density is going to increase ball speed because there's less density at altitude," said Shawn Simonson, a professor of exercise physiology at Boise State. "The air will be less resistant to the ball moving."
The increased speeds complement the Americans' playing style, too. They're an aggressive bunch - including doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan.
"They're in your face," Patton said of the Bryans. "There's not time to set up, to hit a few balls. They're on you."
The Americans' aggressive edge comes largely from their height advantage.
Isner is 6-foot-9 - borderline 6-10.
Querrey is 6-6.
Bob Bryan is 6-4 and Mike Bryan is 6-3.
Djokovic is 6-2, which is more in line with other top players.
Taller players naturally hit the ball at faster speeds. Think of the arm as a lever.
"Even if you exert the same force, because you have a longer arm, the end of the arm is going to travel faster," Simonson said.
So expect a rapid pace to this week's matches.
And in case you're wondering, no, the U.S. would not have been better off in Denver.
"Five thousand feet is pretty challenging for everyone involved," Courier said. "Our team has played higher than that, in Bogota, Colombia, which is north of 8,000 feet. That becomes really not even tennis. You can't spin the ball. We're looking for an advantage while still keeping it (reasonable)."
Or, as Patton says of extreme altitude: "It's just too much. Then the players go crazy."
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat
DAVIS CUP GLOSSARY
Davis Cup: The international team tennis competition began in 1900 as a duel between the U.S. and Great Britain. Four Harvard tennis players created the concept, and one of them, Dwight Davis, designed the format and bought a trophy. More countries joined the competition in 1905, it grew to include 20-plus in the 1920s and 50 in 1969. The current format began in 1981.
World Group: The Davis Cup received entries from 130 nations in 2013, making it the largest annual international team competition in sports. Only 16, including the U.S. and Serbia this year, compete in the World Group - the top level. The eight first-round losers drop into playoffs against winners of the Zone Groups to determine which nations move up to the World Group and which fall out for the next year.
Tie: A Davis Cup matchup between two nations. It's a best-of-five format - four singles matches and one doubles match. Matches are best-of-five sets with no tiebreaker in the fifth set. After the tie has been clinched, matches become best-of-three.
Rubber: Each match in a tie is called a rubber.
Live/dead rubber: A live rubber is one played while the tie is still in doubt. A dead rubber is one played after one team has clinched the victory.
Choice of ground: The host nation decides the site and playing surface for a tie. Nations alternate hosting, so the U.S. is at home this week because it played at Serbia the last time the teams met. If two teams haven't met since 1970, the host is determined by lot.
On the Web: Learn more about the Davis Cup at daviscup.com and usta.com/daviscup.
TICKETS STILL ON SALE
Single-day tickets will be available beginning at 10 a.m. Monday. They range in price from $35 to $175. Three-day packages remain available, starting at $90.
Tickets are available at idahotickets.com, at the Taco Bell Arena box office and by phone (888-484-8782).
The event features two singles matches Friday, a doubles match Saturday and two singles matches Sunday.