Controversial event proposals too much, says British star
Andy Murray fears a calendar crush and a major strain on top players if two new major events burst to life in November next year.
The proposals include a revised Davis Cup competition to be condensed from its longtime four-time-per-year format down to one week of 18 teams starting in late November 2019.
That controversial proposal is being voted on this week by the International Tennis Federation at a general assembly in Florida.
But that’s not all – in addition, the ATP and Tennis Australia are hyping their own rebirth of the World Team Cup, provisionally set across Australia in January, 2020.
That plan would decimate the current Open run-up events in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney and leave the WTA stranded as two of the tournaments in question are joint events.
if both plans pass, the result would be chaos for top names, all of whom would likely be in demand for both events spaced just six weeks apart with the tennis “off-season” in between, it’s all sounds like a bit too much, according to Murray.
“I don’t think having like two team competitions six weeks apart is a positive thing. The ATP and the ITF are not working together on it.”
“The Davis Cup needs to change, because pretty much all of the players that I have spoken to love playing Davis Cup, but then lots of players don’t commit to playing it.
“That would suggest there is something not right, whether that’s a scheduling thing, changing surfaces, or being straight after a slam.”
Murray, who won the Davis Cup with Britain in 2015, added: “I think a lot of the Davis Cup changes are being forced a little bit, and I don’t know what’s been happening with the ATP’s team event.
“I know they have a slightly smaller (Davis) World Group which probably helps things a little bit, as well. But tennis has issues because you have so many different bodies.
“It’s so difficult to sort of keep everybody happy. It would be a lot, lot easier if everyone worked together to come to, I don’t know, maybe a slightly better solution sometimes.
“It feels like everyone is always looking out for their own interest as opposed to the interest of tennis as a whole. If everyone did that, things would probably get done a bit quicker and it would probably be a bit more positive for the sport.”
The thoughtful Scot, who was bounced out in the first round at Cincinnati by Lucas Pouille 6-1, 1-6, 6-4, confirmed that he will not add an extra event to his schedule with less than a fortnight to go prior to the US Open start.
Murray’s recovery from hip surgery has been slow and deliberate, with the Pouille match only his seventh since returning to the courts in June.
Meanwhile, breakthrough Greek youngster Stefans Tsitsipas will join Roger Federer and Switzerland in the Hopman Cup which starts the 2019 season.
Officials confirmed that the 20-year-old Tsitsipas, who faced Rafael Nadal in the Toronto final, will pair with compatriot Maria Sakkari as the first Greek side to compete in the eight-nation mixed team event in more than a decade and a half
Federer and Belinda Bencic will be back to defend the title they won eight months ago in Perth over the German pair of Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber, also confirmed for the upcoming edition..
“I’m super excited to be playing in Perth and, together with Maria, being the first Greek team playing in Perth for many years,” Tsitsipas said.
“I can’t wait to have all the support from the crowd, from the Greek people that live in Perth.
“Playing in front of such an amazing crowd in such a nice city like Perth, it’s like a dream come true for me. I’ve worked so hard for it and being part of this event is so important for me.
“Putting Greece on the map of tennis is super important as well, inspiring kids. We are the two players that can change tennis in Greece and, you know, bring it to another level, to a completely new level.”
Spain will send in a high-powered cast, with double Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza teaming with former No. 3 David Ferrer as both make their Hopman debuts.
Muguruza and Ferrer will have a sixth Spanish title at the three-decade old event in their sights, with the most recent Spanish success achieved by Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues in 2013.
“I’m looking forward to Perth and to play there. I’ve heard so many things about Hopman Cup chatting about it to other Spanish people that went and they say it’s magic,” Muguruza said.
“I’m excited to play with David and yes I’ve seen it on TV and it looks very fun and competitive at the same time.
“There’s something about the Australian vibe that makes us want to be there and makes us happy. The crowd is so involved with us, that we love to play there.”
So far, with only half the field in place, the lineup will include four Top 10 players.