I have to say that I’m a bit ticked Rafa likes this idea. I love Davis Cup and feel that this proposal will kill everything that’s good about it. It will also be a huge hit in the pocket book for national tennis federations. The proposal sounds more “entertainment” focused than tennis focused. I want tennis, not spectacle for spectacle’s sake. I understand and support the desire to shorten the season, but not at the expense of Davis Cup. Then again, that’s the whole problem isn’t it? What is going to give?
The leading male players are clearly agitated that it has taken the sport’s rulers too long to make the decisions required to keep tennis in tune with the times and the World Cup — a biennial, 32-nation, ten-day concept revealed exclusively in The Times yesterday — is destined to become the touchstone of their antagonism.
Rafael Nadal, the world No 2, and Novak Djokovic, the No 3, vice- presidents of the ATP Tour’s player council, and Ivan Ljubicic, a player representative on the board of directors, are as one that responsibility has to be taken to sustain the relevance of tennis to an increasingly discriminating, entertainment-conscious public.
As he glanced at the World Cup proposals, Nadal said: “Yes, I like it.” When it was mentioned to the Spaniard that the rules would include a strictly enforced 25 seconds between points, one of the game’s notoriously slow players added with a smile: “Perhaps I don’t like it that much.”
And when Nadal, a member of the Spain team who won the Davis Cup a month ago, said that “it is not so easy these days to play all the time, it is very difficult for the players”, it became clear that even a staunch advocate is worried that the Davis Cup does not fit into the thinking of many players, who are focused on the grand-slam tournaments.