Davis Cup organisers facing rebellion over late nights
Nearly 120 years of Davis Cup formats and tradition have been tossed out starting with this edition after the International Tennis Federation sold management rights to a Spanish footballer, whose company immediately turned the classic competition on its head.
The ITF will sit back and hope that a profit promise of $3 billion over the next quarter century somehow comes true.
The traditional four-time-per-year format – which had admittedly grown somewhat stale – is replaced by the Mark II version being played all in one go this week between 18 teams – and minus the popular home and away element.
But squeezing in six ties of three-set singles plus doubles into each day’s timeframe is proving to be almost impossible.
With ticket sales already shaky in the run-up to the bold new experiment, complaints from players – even Spain’s world No. 1 and top Davis supporter Rafael Nadal – are starting to bite.
The 33-year-old who led Spain into the quarters with win on both group matches said that something will have to be adjusted to prevent the pre-dawn finishes.
Spain’s third rubber of a tie with Russia only got started after midnight early Thursday morning.
With the onus on him to help support the new event in the absence of Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem, Nadal could only go so far in his criticism.
“The only negative in my opinion is we are just starting the last match and it’s 12.45am,” he said.
“That means big trouble for us the players and also for the people who have come to the stadium too, because tomorrow is a workday. It makes everything difficult.”
Nadal said a re-think might be in order and that he could well have more to say after Sunday’s scheduled final.
“Let me wait until the tournament is over to have a clear and better opinion.”
Social media thoughts on the Davis debacle have been plentiful, with problems noted with the event’s wonky smartphone app as well as the website and online live scoring systems.
Finding the tournament on television is also said to have been problematic.
There is also the odd choice of 18 teams for group play, which means that one group is the odd man out when it comes to determining the eight quarter-finalists.
As will be the case, with the Belgium- Australia tie, which began on Wednesday evening and ended in the small hours; Australia are now set to play Canada for the quarters starting early Thursday evening.
In addition, some posters complained that the schedule also had matches with sides led by Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic on different courts at the same time.
Written by Bill Scott for Grandslamtennis.online. To read more visit grandslamtennis.online