Sports

January 30, 2014

Retired Southlake tour pro set for Davis Cup TV analysis

Mark Knowles keeps his head in the game and his heart at home.

Mark Knowles has officially retired after a long and illustrious career in tennis that saw him win 55 men’s doubles titles, including three Grand Slam crowns, and the 2009 Wimbledon mixed doubles championship.

After nearly two decades on the tour, the 42-year-old Knowles found it harder and harder to go on the road and leave three kids and a wife at home in Southlake.

“Someone once told me that when my oldest [child] gets to first grade, I need to retire because it goes by so fast,” Knowles said. “That’s what I did. I love the game, but being out of the road was tough.”

But Knowles hasn’t left the game completely.

This weekend he will be in San Diego to provide TV commentary for the Tennis Channel’s coverage of the Davis Cup match between the United States and Great Britain, played on a temporary clay court in left field at Petco Park, home of major league baseball’s Padres.

The Americans learned Thursday that they will be without No. 13-ranked John Isner, who continues to be slowed by an ankle injury that forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open.

Isner was replaced by No. 79-ranked Donald Young, who reached the third round in Melbourne. He joins No. 49-ranked Sam Querrey, and the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan.

Knowles said the key against the British, led by No. 6-ranked Andy Murray, could be the Americans’ decision, as hosts, to play on clay, an unusual advantage for the U.S.

“Clay is Murray’s worst surface, so there’s no reason the U.S can’t sneak out a victory,” Knowles said. “And the British team isn’t very deep after Murray. Plus, the Bryan brothers have always been good in Davis Cup. Andy Murray is a good doubles player, and he will be playing with Colin Fleming, who is a good doubles player, but I think the U.S. has a little bit of an advantage and there’s a good chance they can take this one.”

Murray will play Young in Friday’s first-round match at 1 p.m., followed by Querry against No. 175-ranked James Ward in the second match.

The U.S. holds an 11-7 advantage over Britain in Davis Cup play, which dates to the Americans’ 3-0 victory in Boston in 1900. The last time the two countries met was 1999 in Birmingham, England, when current U.S. captain Jim Courier pulled out a five-set victory over Greg Rusedski in the fifth and deciding match of a 3-2 U.S. victory.

The winner of this pairing will advance to the quarterfinal round April 4-6 against the winner of Italy-Argentina.

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