Genoa | Noah blames Federer and Nadal
In its bid to make it more commercial and prestigious the controversial Davis Cup revamp continues to drive the news headlines and apparently it is all Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s fault.
Former Grand Slam winner and captain of France’s Davis Cup team Yannick Noah dropped that particular bombshell, saying: “The current format is very good, but when Federer or Nadal prefer to play other events, it gets more complicated.
It just takes so much out of the players to be available four weekends during the year every single year. I played a lot of Davis Cup when I was younger and happy I did. I was happy it existed, but eventually, it was just too much. I do believe that the Laver Cup has sparked some change, some inspiration to other cups that maybe we'll see in tennis. But that's a good thing. We'll take that as a sign of flattery. Roger Federer
Both have won the competition, Nadal four times and Federer once, but often have opted out of representing their countries.
Federer has said recently that playing the Davis Cup is not in his plans anymore, which makes the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualification a little bit more complicated for him should the Swiss still be competing by then.
In order to be eligible to play Olympics, a player needs to have played in the Davis Cup at least three times over the four years prior, 2016-2020, and Federer has not been on the team since September 2015 against the Netherlands.
The only means left for Federer is a wild card – eight ‘ITF Places’ are available, including one for a Grand Slam singles winner or Olympic gold singles medalist who are non-officially qualified.
If more than one player meets this criteria, the athlete with more titles is chosen.
Two years ago, Rafael Nadal won an appeal to play the 2016 Rio Olympics after having played just two Davis Cup ties because of injury.
Federer considers his chances of playing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo as a lesser priority.
“It’s not like with Rio [in 2016], where it was really something I set myself as a goal,” he said.
“If I’m still playing, great. But I’m not saying I have to play one more [Olympics] before I retire. If it happens, then it makes sense for me to go play, but it’s too far away. Why not – it would be nice… but I can’t tell you for sure, or not for sure.”
The fact that Nadal has been announced in Spain’s squad for their Davis Cup World Group quarter-final against Germany in Valencia is good news for the competition but less so for Federer, as the two vie for World No 1 ranking.
The 31-year-old has not played in the competition since helping five-time winners Spain return to the top tier of world tennis with victory in India in 2016.
Nadal was named in captain Sergi Bruguera’s team alongside Pablo Carreno Busta, Roberto Bautista Agut, David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez.
Nadal, 16-times Grand Slam champion, withdrew from the Australian Open in January after reaching the last eight due to an upper quad problem.
He had been expected to return at the Mexican Open at the end of February, but missed his fifth tournament in a row.
And then there is, of course, the advent of the Laver Cup, a hit last year on its inauguration, and likely to equally as popular on US soil in Chicago in September.
Federer’s management team was instrumental in launching the Laver Cup, which pits Team Europe against Team World.
What impact the Laver Cup has on the future of the Davis Cup remains debatable, but the ITF proposal to play the World Group in a single-week, 18-nation format, seems to be gaining approval from the top players even though it still must be approved by a vote of the ITF membership.
“It just takes so much out of the players to be available four weekends during the year every single year,” Federer said.
“I played a lot of Davis Cup when I was younger and happy I did. I was happy it existed, but eventually, it was just too much.
“I do believe that the Laver Cup has sparked some change, some inspiration to other cups that maybe we’ll see in tennis. But that’s a good thing. We’ll take that as a sign of flattery.”
McEnroe, once a staple for the US Davis Cup team, said changes in that competition are overdue and certainly the success of the Laver Cup has not gone unnoticed.
“For me, I say, ‘When’s the last time anyone’s asked me about how many Davis Cup teams I was part of winning?'” McEnroe said.
“In the last 10 years, how many people have asked me that? You know how many people? None. Which is sad, ’cause I played a lot of Davis Cup and I loved it.”