Former doubles world No. 1 and 2023 ITA Men’s Hall of Fame inductee Bob Bryan will make his debut as the US Davis Cup captain this Tuesday, September 12 in the group stage of the 2023 Davis Cup Finals. Taking over the title of captain from fellow American Marty Fish, Bryan will look to capture the 33rd Davis Cup title for the United States with Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Mackenzie McDonald, Austin Krajicek, and Rajeev Ram rounding out the American squad. Nishesh Basavareddy, current Stanford Men’s Tennis team member, will also be accompanying the team as a hitting partner.
The American team brings an extensive background of collegiate experience with three out of the five team members having played at the college level including UCLA alum Mackenzie McDonald, Texas A&M alum Austin Krajicek, and Illinois alum Rajeev Ram.
While on the UCLA men’s tennis team, Mackenzie McDonald racked up a long list of accomplishments. During his senior year alone, McDonald was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year for the second year straight, Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year with partner Redlicki, and 2016 ITA National Men’s College Player of the Year, taking home the 2016 NCAA Men’s Singles and Doubles title, the first men’s player to sweep both titles in 15 years. Going 22-1 in singles and 19-6, McDonald finished the season with the No. 1 ITA singles and doubles ranking. Other accolades of McDonald’s throughout his career at UCLA include receiving the ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, ITA Scholar-Athlete awards, and being named to the First Team All-Pac-12 selection.
On tour, McDonald recently reached a career high of No. 39 in the world and has previously reached the fourth rounds of Wimbledon in 2018 and the Australian Open in 2021. In 2022, McDonald captured his first ATP tour doubles title at the 2022 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships with partner Marcelo Melo.
Much like McDonald, Austin Krajicek also took his talents to the collegiate level before hitting the tour. During his time in College Station, Krajicek claimed the 2011 NCAA Doubles title, the first national title in program history. Krajicek was a four-time doubles All-American, two-time singles All-American, Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Big 12 Player of the Year during his junior and senior seasons.
This year on tour, Krajicek won his first Grand Slam doubles title at the 2023 French Open with partner Ivan Dodig. Krajicek carried that momentum into the 2023 US Open tournament, reaching the US Open Mixed Doubles final with partner Jessica Pegula and doubles semifinals with partner Ivan Dodig. In June, Krajicek claimed the ATP World No.1 Doubles ranking.
Just like McDonald and Krajicek, Rajeev Ram started his career at the collegiate level. Prior to turning professional, the previous No. 1 doubles player in the world competed for the Fighting Illini, helping them secure the 2003 NCAA National Championship, going a combined 6-0 in the NCAA postseason. That same year, Ram also claimed the NCAA Doubles Championship title with teammate Brian Wilson.
Hot off the 2023 US Open Men’s Doubles title, his third total title in Flushing Meadows, Rajeev Ram is no stranger to taking home Grand Slam titles being the 2020 Australian Open Doubles champion, 2021 and 2022 US Open Men’s Doubles champion, and 2019 and 2021 Australian Open Mixed Doubles champion.
Prior to taking the lead as the US Davis Cup captain, Bryan competed on the US team for an 18-year period from 2003 to 2020, and was part of the U.S. team that won a record 32nd Davis Cup title in 2007. Alongside brother Mike, the duo went 25-5 together in Davis Cup doubles matches, setting the team record for doubles wins as a pair.
Under Bryan’s direction, the team will look to advance to the Final Eight that will be played in Malaga, Spain from November 21-26, where the winner will be crowned as the Davis Cup Champion.