- Ask Steven
Davis Cup decidersSteven LynchApril 11, 2014
What unique Davis Cup tennis record is held by Mikhail Youzhny and Viktor Troicki? asked Ross Whitlock
I'm glad you slipped Davis Cup in there, otherwise I think I'd have been puzzling over this one for a long time!
The answer is that they both stepped in unexpectedly to play the decisive singles in a Davis Cup final - and won it for their countries. No other "substitute" players have done this.
In 2002 Russia were all square at 2-2 in the final against France. An injury to Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who had been due to play the vital singles, meant that Mikhail Youzhny had to face Paul-Henri Mathieu instead. It didn't start well: Mathieu went two sets up, and it seemed certain that France would retain the title they had won by beating the United States - Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and all - the previous year. But Youzhny fought back, and finally secured Russia's first Davis Cup title by winning 3-6 2-6 6-3 7-5 6-4.
Something similar happened in 2010, with France again involved. It was all square at 2-2, but this time both men in the decisive match weren't supposed to be playing. Michael Llodra had to step in for France as Gilles Simon was unfit, while Viktor Troicki replaced Janko Tipsarevic for Serbia (whose two points had both come courtesy of singles wins by Novak Djokovic).
This time the result was much more clear-cut: Troicki trounced Llodra 6-2 6-2 6-3, and Serbia lifted the Davis Cup for the only time so far.
It's actually surprisingly rare for the Davis Cup final to depend on the final rubber. It's only happened 14 times since the Second World War, and seven of those have been in the current century - including both of the last two years, when Radek Stepanek has clinched the Cup for the Czech Republic with last-gasp wins each time.
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