Team of the year: Davis cup stars show the power of team spirit

Team of the year Davis

There were many impressive sporting performances in 2009 but no Israeli team matched the unified achievement of the national tennis squad. Dudi Sela, Harel Levy, Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich made up a formidable partnership which overcame the odds to launch Israel into the semifinals of the Davis Cup for the first time. The victories over Sweden in Malmo and then Russia at Tel Aviv's Nokia Arena in July illustrated the power of team tennis. The Israel team had to pull together in Sweden after they were forced to play in front of empty stands as local officials had been concerned about anti-Israel protests at the games. Levy became the unlikely hero in the World Group first round tie, defeating Andreas Vinciguerra in a five-set thriller to send Israel into the quarters. All four teammates then played a role in picking apart a Russian squad which had been heavily favored to easily beat the hosts. Levy's and Sela's wins on the Friday set up a mouthwatering doubles match which Ram and Erlich won in triumphant fashion. While the Israeli squad was unable to get the better of Spain in the semis, the battling spirit which got it to that point made it our choice for team of the year.