In the wake of last weekend's Davis Cup quarterfinal, these things are certain: Australia will advance to the semifinals against Russia, thanks to a 4-1 victory over the United States. Pete Sampras is a pretty decent doubles player. And Todd Martin could use some sleep in a cool, air-conditioned room.
Other things are less certain, such as the state of U.S. captain Tom Gullikson's job. U.S. Tennis Association President Judy Levering said yesterday that she plans on reviewing the events of the weekend and speaking to Gullikson and the players involved before making any decisions. She said she hopes to name a captain for next year, either Gullikson or someone else, by the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 30. Gullikson has been the U.S. captain since 1994.
"Between now and then I intend to talk to a lot of people," Levering said. "At the beginning of the year, I told the players that even though the board and I make the final decision, I would certainly want to hear their thoughts, so I'm going to do that."
Sampras already has said he will continue to play Davis Cup only if Gullikson is retained, although he has not spoken to Levering. Gullikson's twin brother, Tim, coached Sampras before dying of a brain tumor in 1996.
"After what we have been through in the last five or six years, I am only going to play for Tom Gullikson and that's it," Sampras said.
Sampras and Gullikson were involved in much of the controversy that surrounded the quarterfinal weekend at the Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, Mass. Criticism began during Thursday's draw when Gullikson announced that Sampras, coming off his record sixth Wimbledon title, would only play doubles, leaving Todd Martin and Jim Courier to play singles.
Sampras, who joined the team late, wanted to play only doubles to avoid the appearance of pushing Martin or Courier aside. But Martin had said earlier in the month that he happily would yield his singles slot if Gullikson thought using Sampras in singles was in the best interests of the team.
Gullikson decided not to force the issue with Sampras. That move was heavily questioned after Courier and Martin lost their matches Friday, leaving the United States down 0-2 in the best-of-five quarterfinal.
Sampras took some of the heat off Gullikson Saturday afternoon by turning in an inspired performance in the doubles. But in a news conference afterward, he and Gullikson suggested that Sampras might step into Martin's place to play in one of the final singles matches Sunday. Since such a substitution is only allowed in the case of injury or illness, Gullikson said Martin was "not 100 percent fit." This was news to Martin, apparently, who said he felt "fine" a few minutes later.
On Sunday, Martin, who is regarded as one of the most honest players on the ATP Tour, said he really was feeling ill. With court temperatures reaching 130 degrees, he said he was suffering from heat exhaustion.
But while the American doctor certified the illness, the neutral tournament doctor did not. Sampras, who already was warming up to take Martin's place against Patrick Rafter, was pulled off the court, and Martin was put back on. He played five sets, but Rafter overcame a two-set deficit to win, 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Afterward, Australia captain John Newcombe said Martin looked "quite pale," but that after playing more than three hours of tennis and almost winning, Martin's fitness "speaks for itself."
Yesterday, Levering said she planned to ask Gullikson whether his comments on Saturday reflected gamesmanship or more serious ethical violations.
"Sometimes you say things to keep your opponent guessing," Levering said. "I need to talk to Tom and get a better understanding of what happened."