Andy Roddick gave defending Davis Cup champions the USA a flying start to their World Group tie in Austria before laying into the clay courts in Vienna.
Roddick was not impressed by the newly-laid clay courts
Roddick saw off Jurgen Melzer 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 before James Blake beat Stefan Koubek 5-7 7-5 6-2 6-2.
France, Argentina, Russia and the Czech Republic also made strong starts.
"Is it the worst I've played on in the Davis Cup? Absolutely. It was terrible but at least it was terrible for both sides," said Roddick.
"I'm not sure why they were granted special permission by the ITF to do this. I tried asking the referee and didn't get an answer.
"I don't know who I should ask next. It was only laid on Tuesday and clay needs time to settle. It's a shame when points are decided by the court and not the players."
Russia had expected a tough tie against Serbia in Moscow but Janko Tipsarevic withdrew on the eve of the tie and Novak Djokovic missed the first day of action.
The hosts capitalised, with Mikhail Youzhny defeating Nenad Zimonjic 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4, and Nikolay Davydenko seeing off Viktor Troicki 6-1 1-6 6-3 1-6 6-2.
"When we arrived we were good and everything was fine and, all of a sudden, two days later Tipsarevic pulled a muscle, Novak is sick," said Zimonjic.
"I also didn't feel good last night - I also had a fever."
Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga gave France a 2-0 lead over Romania in Sibiu, while Tomas Berdych and Kristof Vliegen took Czech Republic 2-0 clear of Belgium.
As expected, the powerful Argentina line-up won both the opening singles rubber against a weak Great Britain lacking top player Andy Murray.
Dudi Sela surprised Jonas Bjorkman 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 6-1 in Ramat Hasharon before Thomas Johansson thrashed Harel Levy to draw Sweden level with Israel at 1-1.
Wins for Philipp Kohlschreiber and Hyung-taik Lee left Germany and South Korea tied at 1-1 in Braunschweig.
Spain, the 2004 champions, took a 2-0 lead over Peru after Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo produced comfortable straight sets victories.
Robredo beat Ivan Miranda 6-2 6-3 6-3 after debutant Almagro beat Matias Silva 6-3 7-5 6-0 in the first day's singles matches on clay in Lima.
The Czech Republic lead Belgium 2-0 after wins by Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek while Israel were tied at 1-1 with Sweden in their tie.