FRIBOURG, Switzerland — Given a supremely tough draw in the 2012 Davis Cup, the United States is off to an exhilarating start.
It swept Roger Federer and Switzerland in the first round, with Mardy Fish and Mike Bryan winning the doubles match on clay, a surface selected by Federer to exploit what was perceived as an American weakness.
But Fish and Bryan, paired for the first time in more than three years, were clearly up for this challenge Saturday before a Swiss crowd that at times turned angry. They defeated Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, the reigning Olympic champions, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
“This is probably going down as one of the most memorable (wins),” said Bryan, who played on the 2007 winning team.
The doubles victory gave the Americans a 3-0 lead in the best-of-five, first-round series. Fish and Bryan built on the momentum from Friday’s riveting singles matches when former University of Georgia standout John Isner stunned Federer in four sets and Fish outlasted Wawrinka in five.
“This was a big step forward for our guys to come in here and play against a team of this caliber,” U.S. captain Jim Courier said. “Our attitude remained strong all the while and we were ready for whatever. That is what you need for any road tie.”
Handling partisan fans is among those demands, and sections of the crowd of some 7,000 were not pleased in the least when Bryan hit Federer and Wawrinka with volleys at close range.
The U.S. will again be on the road for the next round of Davis Cup, an April 6-8 quarterfinal against France or Canada.
NADAL PASSES TEST: Rafael Nadal says he underwent a surprise drug test toward the end of a week in which the Spaniard was the butt of jokes by a French TV program about his country’s alleged ties to doping.
Nadal wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday: “8:30 in the morning!!!Just finished passing a surprise antidoping test...it was expected after everything...but I’m happy it’s like this!”
The Spanish sports ministry contacted its French counterparts to complain over the satirical skits. It is considering legal action after Spain’s tennis and cycling federations said they would sue Canal Plus for using its logo in a video that poked fun at Nadal.
Former Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, of Spain, received a doping ban on Monday.