Tramlines

Insanity reigns as A-Bog makes Davis Cup side

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"Insanity
is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different
results."

There's
a lot of debate over who first uttered this classic quote. Was it Albert Einstein?
Benjamin Franklin?

Either
way, it doesn't much matter.

What
does matter is that Britain's Davis Cup captain Leon Smith has obviously never heard
it before. That is the only possible explanation for his decision to include Alex Bogdanovic in Britain's squad for the match against Tunisia at the Bolton Arena
in March.

The
26-year-old Bogdanovic has played in five different Davis Cup teams. His record
reads: played eight, lost seven.

His
sole victory came in a singles match against doubles specialist Todd Woodbridge.
Woody was well into his mid-thirties at the time, and retired just a few months
later.

Oh
yes, we nearly forgot: the match was a dead rubber in any case, the fifth of the five matches, played while Australia were leading the tie 4-0.

All but one of the Davis Cup teams Bogdanovic has played in
has lost - the exception came in 2005 when Britain squeaked past
Israel 3-2 despite Bogdanovic's capitulation. Even then, the architects of the
victory were an ageing Greg Rusedski and a scarcely pubescent Andy Murray.

So
bad has Bogdanovic's tennis been in the unique cauldron that is the Davis Cup that former
GB skipper John Lloyd eventually just refused to pick him.

Even
during the brief periods when the Bosnian-born left-hander was apparently
making the most of his undeniable natural talent, Lloyd accepted the sad truth:
put him in front of a baying Davis Cup crowd and Bogdanovic will go to bits.

The strangest aspect of Smith's decision to recall Bogdanovic is that the player is currently making no use whatsoever of the
aforementioned talent.

He
has slipped so badly in the world rankings that he is now world number 378.
Britain - even Britain - has five players with higher singles rankings (James
Ward, Daniel Cox, Josh Milton, Richard Bloomfield and Andy Murray).

In
short, picking Alex Bogdanovic makes less sense than ever.

Despite
all this, and despite the fact that A-Bog ruled himself out of the last Davis
Cup match over a funding row, Smith has named Bogdanovic as one of his three singles players for the match.

Ward
and Jamie Baker (ranked 401st in the world) are the other two singles players
in the team, and though Smith could end up not using Bogdanovic it doesn't
sound like that's his plan at the moment. Quite the opposite, in fact: he's
talking him up as if the serial flop will be his main man:

"He's
very keen to play and very motivated," said Smith, who then added (perhaps with a
hint of desperation) that "he's a much better player than his ranking might
suggest".

While
it's difficult to argue with that statement, it is equally inarguable that
Bogdanovic is evidently a much worse
Davis Cup player than his ranking might suggest.

+++++

TWEETS OF THE WEEK

"Had
4 cars picking us up at the airport in Doha, think it should be enough;) hehe..
On my way to the hotel now!" - Caroline
Wozniacki
reveals the unexpected perks of getting back her world number one
ranking...

"
Just rented a car
for a full week in the States for £142. Cannae beat it!" - ...while
British doubles specialist Colin Fleming
reveals what floats the boat of the players who feed in the shallow end of
tennis's money pool.

"
In Casablanca. My hotel room smells like the mix of urine and cigarettes. Suisse
would not be proud of this 'Hotel Suisse'... On another note, there is absolutely
nothing suspicious about 3 different girls, sitting at 3 different table in the
hotel lobby..." - Meanwhile, Amer
Delic
offers some useful travel tips for where not to stay if you're
visiting Morocco.

+++++

RANKINGS

The
big news of the week is that Caroline
Wozniacki's
victory in Dubai puts her back on top of the women's world
rankings after briefly being forced aside by Kim Clijsters. The pair are still
a long way clear of third-placed Vera Zvonareva, with Sam Stosur a further 2000
points down in fifth.

No
major moves in the the men's game, although world number four Robin Soderling's victory at the
weekend means he now has 300-odd points breathing space over fifth-placed Andy Murray.

+++++

A-BOG v A-BOG

Many
have debated sport's greatest rivalries over the years. Is it the effervescent rivalry
between Barcelona and Real Madrid? The 'Duel in the Sun' between Jack Nicklaus
and Tom Watson at Turnberry in 1977? Or perhaps the immortal 19th Century
cricket clashes between the Gentlemen and the Players at Lord's?

Regular
readers of Tramlines know the truth, however: sport's greatest tussle is the secret
battle between Alex Bogdanovic of Britain and Alex Bogmolov Jr of the USA.

It
was another fascinating clash last week: on the one hand, A-Bog (US) lost his
first round qualifier against Japan's Kei Nishikori at ATP Memphis; on the
other hand, Bogdanovic did not play, and slipped 78 spots in the ATP rankings.

Though
tempted to give neither man a point, we decided in the end that the winner had
to be A-Bog (GB)! The news that the 26-year-old has been recalled to the Davis
Cup squad surely makes up for the fact
that his career appears to be in terminal decline.

Standings: A-Bog (US) 21-13 A-Bog
(GB) (Season standings: 1-1)

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