Davis Cup over the last 10 years has struggled to get the best to play. Such are the demands of the tour now and the prize money on offer competing is tough despite the tournament’s great history.
History and tradition went out the window when Kosmos led by Gerard Pique threw money at the tournament changing the format but top players seem less interested in participating.
The first of the new format has just finished and going from best of 5 matches over 3 days to best of 3 over 2 days has taken away that excitement with Australia sealing their win in just over 3 hours of tennis.
So the jury is still out!
Top players including Thiem, Zverev, De Minaur, Khachanov etc… took part but Alex Zverev who helped Germany qualify for the finals in Madrid has already said since the weekend he will not be playing in the final but would like to win the cup for Germany in the old format.
So, who else won’t be there?
Lucas Pouille (won’t play new format)
Alex Zverev (on hoilday)
Stan Wawrinka (didn’t qualify)
Roger Federer (didn’t qualify)
Dominic Thiem (didn’t qualify)
Kevin Anderson (didn’t qualify)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (didn’t qualify)
Grigor Dimitrov (didn’t qualify)
It says something surely that these players didn’t play in qualifying, how important is Davis Cup now?
With the teams that have qualified these players could still play in Madrid at the end of November;
etc… but you cannot tell me when the season gets to the final weeks which are gruelling and a lot of these players listed above will be looking at playing a lot of tennis to think about getting to London and I’ll be surprised if half of these names play following a 60 match season.
The other two…
Novak and Rafa…
I will categorically say that I fully expect neither player to play in Madrid. I will be shocked if they do.
The way the guys look after their bodies now and the pressure they put on getting to London and being fit in London there is not a chance they will go to Madrid and knock around when they are almost exhausted.
The realism of the situation is selling out has not made the tournament more appealing. The demands of the tour as so great that Davis Cup is not a player’s main priority. It is great to see these young players playing with pride for their countries.
ITF need the top players there but all they can do is hope because what else would pull a player who has just completed a 60+ match season to potentially then play 10 matches in a week?