Boise State men's tennis coach Greg Patton's long-standing connection to U.S. captain Jim Courier helped draw the Davis Cup to Boise.
Courier is counting on Patton, his former Junior Davis Cup coach, to turn out a crowd, too.
"Coach Patton is someone I've known since I was 15," Courier said. "He's a Pied Piper for tennis. Coach is incredible. He's got so much energy and enthusiasm and such a passion for life and the game. There's no doubt he was instrumental in bringing this to Boise and he'll be instrumental in having a great crowd there."
Patton was hoping for a sellout, which appears unlikely, but the event has sold more than 8,000 tickets for each of the three days. That would more than double the attendance for the first-round tie in Jacksonville, Fla. (three-day total of 10,815).
"I feel a responsibility to sweep everyone into it because I've been the one kicking the door, 'Come to Boise, come to Boise, you're not going to believe what you see,' " Patton said. "Now I feel held accountable. Am I a little nervous? Yeah. Because did I tell everyone we could sell this out? Yeah."
Jeff Ryan, senior director of team events for the USTA, said the sales have been in the same range as other similar home ties. The capacity this week is 11,000.
"Eight thousand is something we'd be really pleased with," he said.
TIME FOR DINNER
The Davis Cup teams will participate Wednesday night in a private dinner with dignitaries from Serbia, USTA officials and local folks involved in staging the event. The dinner includes a traditional gift exchange between the teams.
RARE GLIMPSE OF DJOKOVIC
Courier, the U.S. captain, said world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia only plays four events in the U.S. each year - tour stops in Indian Wells, Calif.; Miami and Cincinnati and the U.S. Open in New York.
"For the casual sports fan that is not that passionate about tennis, it makes it worthwhile to come out and see this event," he said. "It's a chance to see our nation's best players battling the world's best players in a really unique setting."
TWO DOUBLES TEAMS
U.S. singles players John Isner and Sam Querrey are doubles partners on the ATP World Tour - giving the U.S. a pair of doubles teams on its four-man roster.
Isner and Querrey have two titles and three runner-up finishes on tour as partners.
Isner hasn't reached a doubles final with anyone else since 2008.
"We're just really good friends - that's why we play doubles a lot," Isner said. "It just so happens, if you look at my record, I only win with Sam. And I think that's because I have the most fun with him."
Still, they're only the second-best tandem on the U.S. team. American twins Bob and Mike Bryan are No. 1 in the world.
"The one thing we have not done is beaten the Bryan brothers," Isner said.
Isner and Querrey guessed at their record against the Bryans. Bob knew the stat: 0-7.
"I'm 0-12 with various partners," Isner said.
Isner said the emotions of the Davis Cup produce hard-fought matches. He should know: He has played three matches that lasted at least 4 hours, 16 minutes since 2010.
"Anybody who plays Davis Cup, they're going to absolutely fight their (butts) off out there," he said. "As far as that goes, the competition is amazing. It doesn't necessarily mean the quality of play is going to be the best, but the competition in Davis Cup is second to none in our sport."
Isner has played in seven ties. The Americans are 5-2 with him in the lineup.
"It's an unbelievable honor to be able to play," he said. "Growing up I never thought that I'd be part of the Davis Cup team, so I've surprised myself a bit there. You think about it, we're the national team of the United States and it's a small, small team. It's four players, and I'm one of the four, and I've been one of the four for a little bit now. It's a very prestigious honor and I'm just so glad to be a part of it."
This is Isner's second home tie. The first was earlier this year in Jacksonville, Fla.
In his first six career ties, he played in Serbia, Colombia, Chile, Switzerland, France and Spain.
"That's basically losing a coin flip (six) times in a row," he said.
ABOUT THAT MATCH
Isner's first big splash on the world stage was in 2010, when he played the longest match in tennis history - 11 hours and 5 minutes spread across three days at Wimbledon. He beat Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set and served 113 aces in the match.
Isner and Mahut won an ESPY Award for Best Record-Breaking Performance and Isner appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman."
"It caught the attention of really the whole world, which is kind of bizarre to think about," Isner said. " I know it's probably going to stick with me for a long, long time and I'm fine with that."