eight men, five rubbers, one weekend…

Bulging biceps, tag teams, marathon sessions, tattoos, bears, Eastern Europeans, Brazilians…

Yes, my friends, it must be Davis Cup!

World Group 2008 – Semifinal
Argentina v Russia, 3 – 2
Tarpischev’s doubles trick couldn’t shake off del Potro.

Spain v USA, 4 – 1
America’s rich Davis Cup history gets blown to bits when a tie is contested on clay. Against Spain.

World Group, Play-offs 2008
Chile v Australia, 3 – 2
Gonzo distracted the Aussies with his chest.

Great Britain v Austria, 2-3
For British newbie Bogdanovic, playing in front of the home crowd at AELTC caused some performance anxiety against Peya.

Switzerland v Belgium, 4 – 1
The dream team of R-Fed and S-Waw cleaned up.

Croatia v Brazil, 4 – 1
Save for a clutch doubles match by Melo and Sa, Croatia takes all the matches.

Israel v Peru, 4 – 1
Harel Levy, Andy Ram, Noam Okun, and the Smurf-esque Dudi Sela all did the home crowd proud.

Netherlands v South Korea, 3 – 2
Hyung-Taik Lee swept his singles matches, but it wasn’t enough.

Romania v India, 4 – 1
As expected, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi win their doubles match.

Slovak Republic v Serbia, 1 – 4
Novak Djokovic kept his clothes on.

davis cup: dudi sela isn’t feeling blue

Dudi Sela must feel good doing his part for Israel by winning a singles rubber against Peruvia team captain Ivan Miranda 6-2, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.

Like how only Diadora can (see: Kuerten, Guga), Sela put on blue socks and blue shoes to take full advantage of the Israeli flag palette. He pulled it off.

The gold contrast detail on his front shorts pockets are blah, but excusable. They can’t all be winners, right?

More: See the rest of his ensemble, including practice tees and warmup suits, after the cut…

trophy watch: one of the year’s best trophies gets doled out yet again

Ana Ivanovic - Indian Wells 2008Ana Ivanovic - Indian Wells 2008

Ana Ivanovic made quick work of Svetlana Kuznetsova in their final match at Indian Wells. (The scoreline: 6-4, 6-3.) Ana took home the $332,000 purse, a bracelet from Jeffrey Scott Fine Magnetics, and that cute humpback whale trophy. Kuznetsova, meanwhile, took home $163,000.

Novak Djokovic - Indian Wells 2008Novak Djokovic - Indian Wells 2008

Novak Djokovic proved that he’s currently the best men’s tennis player in the world by taking his first Indian Wells title. He beat the en fuego Mardy Fish who, before Sunday, had beaten Roger Federer, David Nalbandian, Lleyton Hewitt, and Nikolay Davydenko in this tournament.

There were a few close calls (and Nole started to self-destruct), but the Serb pulled it together in the end for a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win. Props to Mardy for a good two weeks. I can live without his basketball shorts, though. Also: cover your ankles, and stop shaving your legs!

Novak Djokovic - Indian Wells 2008Novak Djokovic - Indian Wells 2008

Nole took home a $555,000 paycheck while Mardy raked in $277,500.

Their humps: “The Pacific Promise” Perpetual Trophy is 30 inches tall. It’s a replica of an 18-foot sculpture of a mother humpback whale and her calf. The original resides in Pacific Life’s main office in Newport Beach, Calif. The sculpture was created by artist Randy Puckett, who’s known for his whale work.

More: See more pictures from the men’s and women’s finals, plus photos from the doubles finals, after the cut…

trophy watch: doubles and wheelchair action at the australian open

As with any Grand Slam, plenty of silver (both as cups and platters) were doled out to runner-ups and winners of the various events at the Australian Open.

mens-doubles-aus08.jpg

The team of Jonathan Ehrlich and Andy Ram capped a historic weekend for Israeli sports by becoming the first Israeli team to win a Grand Slam title. Their opponents in the 7-5, 7-6 (4) win were the defending Wimbledon champs, Michael Llodra and Nono Clement. Suffice to say Ram and Ehrlich’s celebration is exactly how the Frenchmen would’ve done it.

More: The women’s doubles. mixed doubles, and quad wheelchair winners after the cut…