“Playing for your country, put the green and gold on you represent your country it seems to bring out the best of me.”Chris Guccione
Regardless of the outcome of this German tie something needs to be said about Chris Guccione.
For years the gentle giant with the incredible serve (both in power and consistency) has quietly gone about his business in the Australian Davis Cup team.
But here we are again. Saturday night. Australia leads 2-1.
Once again Guccione was tested to the extreme. Once again he stepped up big.
Sure, getting inspired playing doubles when you are alongside Lleyton Hewitt doesn’t look too hard. But with that partnership comes the innate pressure that you have to step up because you don’t want to let such an impassioned partner down.
And at 5-4 in the tiebreak, desperately trying to fend off a rampaging home pairing who were pushing hard to take the match into a fifth, the big Melburnian left-hander served it out.
To be fair to Guccione, his success isn’t confined to partnering the brilliant Hewitt. After the four-set win over the German pairing of Benjamin Becker and Philipp Petzschner, the Guccione/Hewitt team is 4-0 in Davis Cup rubbers (including the not so minor scalp of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka last year in Sydney).
But “the Gooch” is actually 7-0 overall in Davis Cup doubles (including another not so minor scalp of Olympic gold medallists Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzales who were unbeaten at home in eight matches until they met the Aussies on clay a couple of years ago.
“Playing for your country, put the green and gold on you represent your country it seems to bring out the best of me,” he said at a media conference, which was also unique for the fact that Guccione finally drew just as many questions as his famous partner.
“Right now I feel like I’m playing well, its just the ranking doesn’t reflect that … I’ve got to try and play some more tournaments, get back out there. The main thing is staying healthy.”
His captain, Pat Rafter, thinks Guccione and Hewitt complement each other beautifully.
Indeed it is not just Guccione’s great serve and Hewitt’s superb returning, their volleying, teamwork and even their personalities. Hewitt the streetfighter who thrives on the role of firing up his more docile partner, generating confidence in his big mate, who in turn steps up again and again to support his audacious talent and overall court domination.
So, yep something needs to be said about the importance of “the Gooch”.
Hewitt certainly agrees.
“When you can look your partner in the eye in the locker room and know you are going to be out there together and go into battle together, that’s something I have always enjoyed with Gooch.”
Watch the final day’s play live on 7TWO from 19.30 pm AEST Sunday 16 September.