Thursday, September 16, 2010

Under the Carpet

Guess what time it is! Here is a blog post you have read before - many times before - but which I still find myself writing every single damn time this thing comes around.

Davis Cup, honey, if you want people to take you seriously, your scheduling has to change.

I know there are definitely players that take the Davis Cup seriously. Everyone loves playing for their country, right? But Davis Cup is the only time players (well, male players) get to play in a team in this sport, yesno? It's special. It needs more prestige. You want your big guys playing it - and moreover, you want them thinking that it's important enough to play.

This is why you don't schedule it the week after a Slam when those players have just been in the finals and semi-finals and are absolutely exhausted and want to sleep for a hundred years. It is just not clever.

I'm not the only one to put this proposal forward and I won't be the last - set aside two weeks for Davis Cup, well away from any of the Slams. Hold it in a different venue each year if you like - maybe it could be held in the country that won the tournament the year before? And play it like a Slam - teams playing every two days, getting knocked out as they lost.

Maybe there would not then be the need for five rubbers. Maybe it would be best of three rubbers. And yes, maybe that would be controversial. But at least you'd get people playing those three rubbers. And you could do it with a squad of players - maybe as many as six - and you could deploy whoever you wanted. The two highest-ranked nominated singles players of each squad would play each other, then the two lower-ranked ones, and then there would be doubles. And it would be awesome. You could even make it best of three sets if you were that way inclined, but I think you could stay with best of five.

And obviously the same model could apply to Fed Cup. Davis and Fed Cups would then become events, real spectator sports, and would feel a lot more like a competition. Because at the moment, they're both being swept under the carpet.

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