France, one of my favorite "teamy" teams, somehow find themselves in the Davis Cup final despite not having their #1 for most of the year. How'd they get here? Sure, they definitely played well but they also took advantage of four straight home ties on that quick hardcourt surface that plays right into Mikey Llodes' serve and volleying hands. That's right, this will be their first away tie of 2010.
Uh, good luck with that, boys.
Anywho, here's Team France.
- Michael Llodra: The guy has almost single-handedly carried France to the finals. Taking advantage of the ultraquick hardcourts in France, he's served, volleyed, and doubled his way to an undefeated record in Davis Cup this year (2-0 in singles, 3-0 in doubles). He'll be without his BFF, Apricot Bars, but he won with Clement against Argentina. I'll be interested to see if Forget starts him on Friday, or instead chooses to start Gilles so that Mikey is fully rested for doubles.
- Gael Monfils: While the Serbs may have JJ in the crowd egging them on from behind an eye-patch, France has their own King of Chaos. At times magical, at times a walking embodiment of arrogant idiocy, Gael proved with his win over Fed in Bercy that he has the game to beat anyone on any given day. Unfortunately for France, his track record seems to indicate that he's a big fan of having a French Army (hah!) behind him. He won't have home court advantage this time and the Serbian crowd would do themselves a favor to get into his head. There ain't much up there so you might as well fill it with negative thoughts. He'll tap out in no time.
- Gilles Simon: He's 1-5 against Nole but on the slower court you wonder if Guy might tap him instead of Mikey on Day 1 (this is the rumor anyway, nothing confirmed). At a minimum he can maybe run around and make Nole work for the win. Either way, the quiet renaissance man who always gives good quote will be ready to party if France pulls this off. The dude is awesome with HoYay.
- Richard Gasquet: Will he be playing? Probs not. But that isn't going to stop me from pulling some of these gems out.
- Jo Wilfried Tsonga: Out for the season with a knee injury, he'll be ridin' the pine serving as a cheerleader. Damn shame, too. Not only is Jole always riveting entertainment, the complexion of this tie completely changes if he's healthy. He holds a 7-1 DC record. Anyway, I hope it's shirtless cheerleading. G-string optional.
(Pic: Davis Cup Official Site)