After a dismal showing at the Australian Open, American tennis picked itself up off the mat with a Davis Cup win over Serbia.

It can be hard to read much significance into the Davis Cup sometimes. Once a testament to which countries were producing the best pro tennis players in the world, the ties these days often don't feature the top stars. 

Last weekend, Serbia was without a single player inside the Top 50, while the U.S. lacked Jack Sock and Bob and Mike Bryan. It was up to Sam Querry and John Isner—both inside the Top 20.

Querrey and Isner are certainly expected to beat Laslo Djere and Dusan Lajovic, respectively, on any given day of the week. But, as is often the case for the away team in a high-pressure Davis Cup tie, it was much more complicated.

Querry had to rally from a set down to overcome Djere. Isner needed a fifth-set tiebreak to send the U.S. up 2-0 nothing over Serbia. All this transpired on a slow clay court in Nis, Serbia, no less—certainly not the preferred conditions for big servers like Isner and Querry.

In hostile territory, on its team’s worst surface, playing against competition that could easily be underestimated, the U.S. could have made advancing hard on themselves. Instead, Isner and Querry embraced the grind. Then it was up to Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson to clinch the victory. 

If American men’s tennis is searching for a motto and identity, one both the fans and the players can rally around, embracing the grind is it.