World Cup gains support from leading players

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?

World Cup gains support from leading players

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.

More on the concept.

23 Responses

  1. patzin says:

    Don’t know – but doesn’t sound like regulation tennis to me. It might be interesting, but with substitutions for reasons other than say injury, sounds like it is trying to accommodate fans poor attention spans perhaps, but at what cost? It really would not compare to “regulation” tennis matches.

  2. Lynsey says:

    I agree with you completely, Miri. Maybe it’s just because I really love Davis Cup, but I am so against this idea, and I am also pretty disappointed that Rafa likes it.

    I wonder if he would give up his Davis Cup trophies in order to have participated in this instead the past few years. Would he trade the elation he felt twice winning the final with his teammates to participate in this bi-annual circus? They should’ve asked him if he liked the idea of a tennis World Cup more than having a Davis Cup and seen what his response was then.

    • miri says:

      I know. I think the problem is the top players really want to cut the schedule. This helps cut it some without taking money out of the lower ranked players’ pockets. After all, it’s really just the top players who are playing “too much” – the lower ranked ones play tons of tournaments just to try and get by (but only play a few days in each one).

      It will really hurt pocket books of the national federations for the different countries. Those federations help support grassroot tennis development. So, I think that will hurt the game in the long run.

      I really can’t see a fix to the long season problem. No matter what anyone suggests it’s going to piss off a large group of people. Tournaments don’t like to be shuffled around on the schedule – it causes a planning and logistics nightmare.

      Another solution bandied about was making fewer tournaments required. But that means fewer names at them which could lead to lighter crowds and less money for the tournaments and sponsors.

      Essentially, no matter what they decide, someone’s going to be screaming, “Not in my back yard!”

      • Leigh says:

        That’s why having tennis organized from the bottom down (by tournaments) is a bad idea. There needs to be one organization that runs the tennis schedule. Whatever is best for the fans and players is what goes, not what is best for tournaments.

  3. Marla says:

    I think it sounds interesting from the little I could find out about it. But, is there no doubles at all. That would be bad, because I like to watch doubles and DC is the only time you EVER get to see doubles play. I do think it would draw needed attention to the sport and the players are more and more avoiding DC because it is just too hard to play 4x/year – never knowing what country, what surface and the Fri, Sat, Sun format means they can’t play the week before or the week after. I think that is why only tennis rich countries(lots of players), like Spain, US, RUS, etc., are always in the World Group. This could be exciting. Also, I think it was Peter Bodo, complaing the other day about Roger and DC – his fix is to not have tennis in the olympics – his reasoning was that in DC they are playing for their country. HUH? And, they’re not in the olympics? Sometimes he baffles me.
    Anyway, sorry to babble on. Does anyone know where the complete and actual World Cup Proposal can be found?

  4. CC says:

    I’d be GUTTED if they got rid of Davis Cup! I grew up watching it and have the fondest of memories from it.

    I have just read an article in Swedish press, about this new “world cup” showing how horny for money today’s sports stars really are. I don’t know if it’s relevant, as I don’t understand the politics of it all, but I guess they would probably earn even more money on this. It’s sad all the same… :(

    • Marla says:

      I am so tired of reading these articles in regards to tennis players. It seems they all started when Federer complained at the US Open 2008 that he thought the players should get more of the pie.

      No one felt sorry for him of course, he makes plenty. But it is true, at least as far as Pro sports in the US is concerned. Here, Am Footblall players take 62% of the revenue, Basketball 57%, Hockey 56%, Baseball 52% and Tennis players get 26%.

      • CC says:

        Well, this was poorly written and by somebody who probably isn’t very knowledgeable… Doubt he’d even know about Roger’s complaint.
        However, I’m sure there are sports stars that are “money horny”, no?

        • Marla says:

          Yes, and not just sports stars. I just don’t think people realize how much tennis players suffer – only the biggest make money. Their expenses, especially travel and equipment are ridiculous. They have to depend on sponsors – not prize money.

  5. Marla says:

    Now I’m feeling bad. I don’t hate DC – I love it. It’s just that the ATP and the ITF are working against each other on DC and it’s the players who suffer. If you consider that playing in DC takes 8 weeks (2 full months) of a player if he were to play all ties. Then consider, that they only get a few piddly pts if they play a certian No. of ties and only then if their country wins. These guys work hard for their ranking so they can be seeded well at tourny’s – the ATP just does not consider that re DC points. I am sure every player wants to play for their Country, but they can only do it at the expense of their own career. And, as for the money issue DC brings to the ITF – I agree, but these DC ties do not make money, unless the Bigger players show up to play, and they don’t more often than not.

    • miri says:

      I’m not talking money for the ITF, I mean for the local (national) tennis federations. For example, the Spanish Tennis Federation made a good chunk of money off of the final. As I understand it, DC represents one of the major sources of income for these orgs. And, tennis fans tend to show up more for DC without big name players than they do for normal tournaments because of the current format – home team advantage for one country. You get tons of locals to cram the stadium and tons of outsiders to do their best to counter things. Even in the US where tennis isn’t that popular and our main players are boring, you get good turn-out for DC.

      I do agree that it’s a huge schedule problem for the players. I just…don’t want it to go away!

      • Marla says:

        Yeah, I know, me either. I thought that the ITF received the DC money and then distributed it to the countries to use – which I agreee they need. Where will the money for a World Cup go – I would have to assume countries would need some incentive to participate. It is all so confusing.

        • miri says:

          It is – and I could be wrong. I do know that everything I bought at the venue in Barcelona had the stamp of the Spanish tennis federation, not ITF.

  6. Marla says:

    I thought more about this while I was in the shower (obviously I have nothing else to do today). It really won’t change anything – because the only way they could determine which 32 countries qualified for a WC would be thru something JUST like DC. They can’t possibly pull names out of a hat, so countries would still have to compete over the 2 years.

    • miri says:

      And then we are back where we started but with an extra event…no?

      Which brings us to how it would work. Although determining the process of qualification for the finals is in the embryonic stage, the 32 nations who successfully qualify would play off for the title of world champion in one venue over ten days. Eight pools of four would compete in a round-robin phase during the first week and 16 would progress to the knockout phase.

      I hate round robins.

      The no-advantage rule that has been such a success in doubles on the ATP Tour would be replicated in the World Cup

      And I hate the no-ad rule. It favors the big tree-like servers.

      *grumpy*

      And I see no mention of doubles. I love doubles. DC is one of the few places where doubles really matters anymore.

      *change is evil*

      • sia says:

        Hee hee miri … *change is evil* , you have some very valid points. Once again it all goes back to the tennis season being too long. (and what do you want to bet that these ‘New’ events will more than often as not be played indoors on a hard court ?? … cause where will they find the time.)
        IMO tennis is an outdoor sport … and I live in Canada where for a big part of the year if I want to play tennis I have to find an indoor court. It is just not the same. It feels like inter-mural sports in a school gymnasium rather than the grass court /clay court game played in the elements it was meant to be.

  7. Ch F says:

    I totally agree. Apart from the fact that indoor courts enhance a specific kind of tennis, which one may like or not like, so that’s really a question of taste, in my opinion it cannot be compared to the joy and demands of outdoor tennis, which quite often depends on adverse conditions that allow players to make full use of their skills.

  8. Marla says:

    There are two articles on Tennis.com One for. One against. Bodo makes some pts, but I still think he’s nuts.

    Viewpoint: ‘World Cup’ idea is no laughing matter

    http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/features.aspx?articleid=3258&zoneid=9

    The Stupidest Idea. Ever.

    http://tennisworld.typepad.com/tennisworld/2010/01/who-needs-davis-cup.html

  9. patzin says:

    I think the DC group should come up with some new ideas of their own. They certainly have creative people on their adm teams. I don’t like the ideas for the World Cup as I understand them.

  10. Completely disagree with the concept of Davis Cup being extict. When the history of the sport is conected with Davis Cup no one can just erase it because it doesn’t meet someones criteria. Of course there are problems that have to be addressed and we can all see them. In order to improve TV coverage and player commitments the officials have to change the format. Not erase it. Just Change It. For example don’t put ties on clay (the tie in Spain)before 2 Master’s Series played on hard( Indian Wells, Miami). I could go on with advice but i think that all of us have something to contribute. Right or Wrong. In my opinion a huge survey between active players and tennis fans should start and let it’s results show the way. The survey should contain questions that will be relative to the entire spectrum of tennis. After that make a proposal based on the results, find sponsors for it and broadcasters to show it( so that you know the possible revenue).Then make decisions.

  11. faeaki7 says:

    Its a really hard decision to make because of the players tight schedule. I love the Davis cup, it has always been such a special event that seems to bring out the best in people, 2008 Verdasco, and Nadal this year, his win seemed to really help him back! I know this isn’t the big picture and its hard for players to commit inbetween other tournaments nowadays.
    I definately would miss it, this World cup thing doesn’t sound as good, what happenened to tradition? and this 25-30 second clock thing on the court? definately helps the big servers, Rafa won’t like that surely! This has to be the worst news ever!

  12. patzin says:

    I just went on DC website and sent the ITF an email with my thoughts and suggested they can be creative, make DC better and yes survive. Why not!