At the dawn of the final Davis Cup final in its historical form, the revised version of team races is already undermined by the threat of dissatisfaction with the best players and the competition from a similar event revived by the ATP,
When the reform of the Davis Cup was in progress, lawyers explained that they were based on two pillars: returning the support of the best players who tend to withdraw after the contest is on their list and ease schedule very busy.
But just over three months after it was accepted by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), its fundamentals are already weakened.
The participation of the best players so far is not guaranteed.
Novak Djokovic? "I'm not sure," they replied to world N.1 in early October in Shanghai. Roger Federer? "I really doubt that," the Swiss man dropped to twenty krona at Grand Slam at the same time. Rafael Nadal? Yes, according to the Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique ("if he is not injured, he will be there"), who presides over the space investment fund "Cosmos", which is implementing the project in partnership with ITF. Delivered – and not slim – that Majorcan can play at this stage of the season that ended the last two on his knees.
Date is criticized
These doubts were enough to change the rhetoric of ITF in recent weeks to the new generation.
His main face, Alexander Zverev, will be then? No, definitely. "Because in November I no longer want to play tennis," said the young German, N.4 world-wide and victorious, as in the Masters of the most prestigious trophy of his career, 21 years old.
And this is the main criticism made by the players to the ITF: the chosen date, at the end of November, unless it recovers in Madrid. At the same time as the current Davis Cup final. Except that instead of mobilizing a dozen players, the new format, a week of the competition involving eighteen countries, will play extra time for much more after a season.
"I feel the Davis Cup date is very bad, especially for the best players," Djokovic says.
And last week's presentation of the ATP Cup, a new version of the World Cup, "abandoned after 2012 and resumed in Australia early in the season in January 2020, included the ITF horizon further, and the end of the 2019 horizon. and early 2020 is set for two races in teams in a comparable format in just six weeks.
"Not Davis Cup"
Even more dangerous because the ATP, which puts attractive dollars (15 million) and points (up to 750) on the table, can count on the very visible support of Djokovic, Federer and others.
From the ITF, in this delicate context, we play reassurance and pedagogy.
His president, David Haggerty, told Lille on Thursday that his organization was "open for discussion", especially for a possible change in positioning in the calendar, that it was not allowed "unilaterally" and preferred to make it into a "tennis world" concert where appropriate.
He added that the ATP may even be "involved" in Davis Cup, in a way "to be determined" without saying that the discussions are "in progress". And he insisted that this is "the money for developing the next generation of players that were the basis of this reform".
"Many players support the Davis Cup, some may not want to play, but we're confident," Haggarty said.
On the part of the French players we feel floating. "It's not calm, it's not clear, it's not yet established," says Joe Wilfried Tsonga.
Pierre-Hughes Herbert, like many French players, no longer sees the essence of the Davis Cup. "I feel like playing the last one, what the competition is doing are home games away from home, crazy atmosphere to find out that I do not believe it in Madrid, maybe it's a huge success, but it will not be Davis Cup. "
22/11/2018 20:19:02 –
Lille (AFP) –
© 2018 AFP