The United States sent a junior varsity Davis Cup team to Australia and it paid the penalty. Now captain Tom Gorman is left wondering whether he, too, will pay.
Australia took an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the first-round match Saturday at Melbourne when Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge defeated Jim Grabb and Richey Reneberg in doubles, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4.
Grabb and Reneberg lost after Grabb dropped serve in the fifth game of the final set.
"You have to congratulate the Americans," French Davis Cup player Guy Forget said in Vienna. "They did everything to lose and they succeeded. It's perhaps some politics to push out Gorman."
David Wheaton defeated Wally Masur, 6-4, 7-5, in the final singles match today to allow the United States to avoid being swept in the best-of-five series. Earlier, Woodforde defeated Brad Gilbert, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 to give the Australians a 4-0 lead.
The top-seeded Americans went into the contest without Jim Courier, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and John McEnroe, who were all said to be unavailable.
It was, indeed, a day of ignominy for the Americans, the first defending champions in 10 years to lose in the first round.
Australian captain Neale Fraser said the Americans had underestimated his team.
"We didn't get seeded in the tournament and that was a bit rude," Fraser said. "I believe they underestimated us down here on grass."
McEnroe has been chasing Gorman's position as captain, and Fraser was critical of Gorman's powers of persuasion.
"I find it hard to believe that of Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Ivan Lendl and MaliVai Washington, not one of them could come down here," Fraser said.
"Maybe Gorman is not such a good salesman, but there is something wrong if those players don't want to be part of the Davis Cup."
Said Gorman: "I have no idea whether there is a question mark over my future. It is not an issue in my mind. I'm just proud that I was reappointed for this year and I hope I'm a contender for 1994."
In the quarterfinals, Australia will play Italy, which clinched a victory over Brazil on Saturday.
Third-seeded Conchita Martinez defeated top-seeded Gabriela Sabatini, 6-3, 6-3, in a semifinal at the $375,000 Virginia Slims of Houston.
In the other semifinal, Sabine Hack defeated Jana Novotna, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (11-9).