TODD Woodbridge says the word governing body of tennis has risked not bringing the players along in its planned Davis Cup revolution after dropping a “bomb’’ on Tuesday with a proposed one-venue, one-week solution to the competition’s ills.
Dual Davis Cup winner Woodbridge said the proposal to hack the competition back from four weeks each year to one week each November was a reaction to the ATP’s planned World Team Cup in January from 2020 and done without consultation with the players.
The season-long Davis Cup competition, in its 118th year, would to become a one-week, 18-nation event, rebranded as the World Cup of Tennis Finals, from as early as 2019 under a proposal endorsed by the International Tennis Federation board.
DAVIS CUP: Tennis split over grand proposal
Brisbane hosted a Davis Cup earlier this month which may end up being the last in the city if the ITF plan to sell the Davis Cup off to one city each year goes through in an August vote of ITF member nations.
The member nations rebuffed pressure from the ITF board last year to make matches best-of-three sets.
“The questions are where did that come from and why did they throw such a big bomb on the tennis landscape as they did,’’ said Woodbridge, who won more Davis Cup doubles matches, 25, than any other Australian.
“You can’t have any success with something like this unless the players are in support. The ATP have already got approval from the players to have their own version of a World Cup (each January, possibly in Australia).
“They do need to look at options for change in Davis Cup. Players have been talking for years that it’s played too many weeks (in each year).
“Rather than have one week every year should Davis Cup be played every second year where players can put it properly in a calendar?
“Do you want to lose all the home and away ties and all the points of difference that make Davis Cup unique? For many people that patriotism and the difficulty of winning away ties in front of raucous crowds can be quite fulfilling.’’
The ITF board propose each tie would consist of two singles and one doubles match over best-of-three sets rather than the current best-of-five rubbers format played over best-of-five sets.
The ITF board unveiled plans for a 25-year, $US3 billion partnership with European investment group Kosmos and will present it to member nations as a financial boon for world tennis.
The lack of support from top players for Davis Cup was underlined this month when Kazakhstan beat Switzerland with Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka both absent in the week after the Australian Open.
Most of the voting nations will never play in the elite 18-country event to supersede the current world group of 16 and would continue to play lower-tier Davis Cup competition whole enjoying the financial benefits.
The ITF said it was already liaising with potential hosts nations over launching the tournament in November 2019.
Tennis Australia did not respond to a comment about the proposal.