Are current and former US players too obsessed with Davis Cup?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by devila, Feb 16, 2006.


Do Americans hallucinate about impossible Davis Cup wins?

  1. Yes

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  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  1. devila

    devila Banned

    Apr 24, 2004

    It would be an advantage,” said Roddick. “Grass is probably my best surface. James [Blake], he might prefer a hard court but I’m not sure. But in the doubles, I think it’s [grass] huge as well. We’ll have to see how much influence I have on that decision.

    McEnroe stated that his preference would be for either a grass court or a fast indoor hard court, he discussed the Chilean team of Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu.

    Obviously, they have a couple of great players,” McEnroe said of Chile. “I’m just really happy with how our guys looked here. James has taken his game up a level the last six months. The Bryans can be counted on. And as I’ve said before, I’d take Andy Roddick on any team, any time.”

    While McEnroe did allow that the second singles spot in April could be open to other players than Blake – names such as Andre Agassi, Robby Ginepri, and Taylor Dent – he didn’t shy away from putting Blake at the head of the pack.

    “In my mind right now, James is the frontrunner,” McEnroe said. “James is playing extremely well and I think he’ll only get better and better.”

    I think the thing that’s nice now is we have a good team, so I don’t have to win every match in singles,” Roddick said. “I think that shows where I can lose a match and the other guys just step up and take care of business like it’s no big deal.”
    McEnroe also said that despite Roddick getting sick and presenting a possible scenario where he wouldn’t have been able to play on Sunday, he will be sticking with the doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan for the future.
    Can the cup survive?
    By Jerry Magee

    At issue is the format. Critics of it contend that the International Tennis Federation, which operates the Davis Cup and tennis' Grand Slams, has been too permissive in permitting matches to be conducted at substandard venues. Further, they argue that the format represents an economic double fault, that it leaves too little time for adequately promoting and marketing the World Group final. The World Group is the Davis Cup's major league.
    “If the guardians of the cup don't see this, one day they are going to wake up and the Davis Cup will be nothing,” warned Charlie Pasarell, chairman of the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells and a member of the ATP Tour's board of directors.
    William J. Kellogg is the steward of the La Jolla club at which the Davis tie is being conducted and chairs the USTA's Davis Cup committee. Though he is a long-time champion of tennis in all its forms, he shares the concerns of Pasarell and others that the cup format has become outdated.
    “You have to make the location of a match and the site well known in advance,” Kellogg said. “Condensing the format would make it possible.”

    Further, Kellogg said for players to make themselves available for a full year of Davis Cup competition represents an economic hardship for them. “You're talking somewhere close to 20 days a year for players involved with teams that play four ties,” Kellogg said. “That's a lot of time for a professional. The format makes it very difficult for them.”
    While he is the USTA's leading Davis Cup official, Kellogg has no voice in how the competition is administered. The International Tennis Federation's Davis Cup Committee is the authority. Kellogg must channel his thoughts through Alan Schwartz, a former USTA president who is the American representative on the ITF committee.
    “The decisions are made by vote of the world,” Kellogg said.
    USTA President Franklin Johnson said the matter of revising the cup's format is moot. He believes the USTA must work to make the competition as appealing here as it is in other countries.
    Johnson noted that when the 2004 World Group final between the United States and Spain was offered in Seville, each of the three sessions attracted a crowd of 27,200. Spain won 3-2.
    This much is indisputable: that the Davis Cup no longer has the cachet it possessed in this country in the 1920s, the 1940s and the 1960s-70s, when the United States claimed many of its record 31 championships.
    Being as large a country as we are, with as many things going on, like World Series and Super Bowls, it's a hard sell, basically, to sell the Davis Cup here unless we have the very best players playing,” said Tony Trabert. “Even then, it's not always an easy sell.”
    Trabert is a former Davis Cup stalwart who captained the American squad from 1976-80 and since 2001 has served as president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

    “When you talk about Australia, which has 18 million people, and the other countries that have good players, there is not that much going on, sports-wise,” Trabert said. “It's a huge event for them. And that's not knocking the other countries.”

    Pasarell differed. He said the notion that the Davis Cup is being more warmly received abroad than in this country is not founded on fact.
    “It is absolutely not true,” he said, pointing to the 2005 World Group final between Croatia and the Slovak Republic that was played in Bratislava, Slovakia.
    “This was a historic event for both countries,” Pasarell said, “but if you went across the street, you would have had absolutely no way of knowing what was going on.”
    For this, Pasarell faults the World Group's single-elimination format for 16 nations, he says allows insufficient time to promote the final, won last year by Croatia.
    “It's absolutely because of the format,” Pasarell said. He noted that in Bratislava the final was offered in an indoor arena seating only 4,000. The Slovakians wanted to play there, according to Pasarell, because they had captured previous ties there and were superstitious.
    “Really degrading,” Pasarell said.
    Pasarell would return to a hybrid of the Challenge Round format the Davis Cup used from 1900-71. In this system, the cup holder automatically advanced to the next year's final, in which it would play host to the nation that had come through that season's eliminations. The host nation would be joined by the squads of three nations, determined through trials, not one.
    Pasarell's system would allow the home country a full year, instead of a few weeks, to choose a venue, engage in marketing and handle television arrangements.
    “You just cannot do a major league promotion in six to eight weeks,” Pasarell said. “It's hard to get dates. You need time.”
    Pasarell said having four nations contest the final rather than two would create as many as nine gates (three ties, each held over three days), making the event economically sound, and “would capture the attention of the world.” :rolleyes:

    Pasarell noted that when Sweden captured the cup in 1997-98, Swedish tennis authorities lost money. “It's a Swedish problem and an American problem,” said Pasarell. “It's every country's problem.”

    To Pasarell, players are in part to blame for the Davis Cup's recent failure to gain public acceptance.
    “They don't want to play,” he said. In Melbourne for the Australian Open, he said Roger Federer expressed reservations about representing Switzerland in a first-round tie against Australia, and when Lleyton Hewitt heard that, he said that if Federer wasn't going to play, neither was he. :rolleyes:
    “In Australia, that was heresy,” Pasarell said. “Do you think an athlete participating in the Olympics is going to withdraw because another athlete might not be participating?” :rolleyes:
    For the tennis establishment to alter Davis Cup procedures would be difficult for a reason detailed by Ted Schroeder, the La Jolla tennis savant. Many nations involved in the eliminations finance their tennis programs through monies derived from cup matches. These nations would have to approve any new format.
    “You can't whip 'em,” Schroeder said. “It's like the United Nations. There are too many of 'em.”
    “No. 1, it wouldn't work economically for the ITF,” said Trabert concerning amending the current format. “Secondly, you would never have the smaller nations having the home-court advantage.”
    You would if, like Croatia, one of them had captured the cup.
    Trabert noted that a Cypriot, Marcos Baghdatis, reached the Australian Open final. “What else is going on in Cyprus, sports-wise?” he asked. “You play in the Ukraine and you play in the Czech Republic, wherever, there just aren't that many sports going on. Tennis is big for them, it's international and in other countries, it's a boon for them.
    “If we win the Davis Cup, so what? We've won it 31 other times. And that's the attitude of a lot of people.”


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