Andre Agassi’s former coach recalls contentious Davis Cup thriller against Argentina featuring an irate John McEnroe
Former American tennis player and former Andre Agassi coach Brad Gilbert recalled the controversial Davis Cup thriller played between the United States of America and Argentina in 1981.
The final of the 1981 edition was a match between USA (John McEnroe and Peter Fleming) and Argentina (José Luis Clerc and Guillermo Vilas). The former won the title, winning 3-1 in the finals played at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA on December 11–13, 1981. This result also gave the United States their 27th title.
When a social media post from the official Davis Cup account asked fans if they remembered a magic lob from the doubles final in 1981, Gilbert responded by saying he was the training partner for USA.
“I was the training partner for this Davis Cup final in Cincinnati, an amazing 5 set thriller in doubles against Argentina,” he tweeted.
While Jose Luis Clerc gave the crowd a vow with a lob against McEnroe, in the end it was USA who prevailed. The doubles tie was the third rubber the USA won 6-3 4-6 6-4 4-6 11-9.
Gilbert explained that the atmosphere that night was electric. He tweeted:
“It was extremely controversial. USA 🇺🇸 won a 5 set thriller about 11-9 in the 5th in this fantastic doubles atmosphere.”
Davis Cup becomes part of the ATP Tour calendar
From the 2023 season, the Davis Cup will now officially be part of the ATP Tour calendar. The agreement was signed by the Men’s Tennis Association (ATP), the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the tournament organizers in October last year.
The decision reflects growing collaboration between the men’s and women’s tours and the ITF, which have sought to streamline how the game is run since the COVID-19 crisis disrupted the 2020 season.
However, according to the ATP, the ranking points awarded from 2009 to 2015 saw no change before they were discontinued. The ITF stated that ranking points could be taken into account in the future and the matter has been raised with the ATP. Players will now be selected by national team captains rather than by ranking points.
The 2023 edition of the tournament begins with qualifying rounds on February 3-5. The qualifying rounds consist of 12 matches, with the winners joining holders Canada, last year’s runners-up Australia, hosts Spain and wildcard Italy in the group stage of the finals to be held in September.