ITF defends Davis Cup scheduling - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

ITF defends Davis Cup scheduling

By Paul Mulvey 10/02/2004 05:49:44 AM Comments (0)

Tennis officials sympathised with Australia's rapid fall from Davis Cup champion to first-round flop, but reminded John Fitzgerald and his players that that was the nature of the competition.

Davis Cup chief Bill Babcock suggested little would be done to change the system in which the champion puts its trophy at risk within months of winning it.

Australian captain Fitzgerald questioned the format on Sunday when the champion was sent tumbling out of the competition with a 4-1 loss to unseeded Sweden in Adelaide, 70 days after Mark Philippoussis sealed Australia's victory in last year's final against Spain.

Fitzgerald suggested that the two finalists from the previous year be given a first round bye.

"It's always tough to go from heaven to hell in a short period but that is the nature of our sport," said Babcock, the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) executive director of the Davis Cup.

"It's tough to win the trophy and to keep it is hard, and so it should be. We would never want to do anything to take away from the competition.

"It's very tough on Australia to have not had long to savour victory. But they've had longer than most No.1 players.

"It's a fair kind of comment and a review that the Davis Cup committee always takes seriously, especially when the comments come from someone like John or Tennis Australia.

"But these aren't new ideas, that's been in the mix for some time."

Babcock said a first round bye would reduce the Davis Cup at a time when the ITF was looking to find ways to expand it in an already crowded calendar.

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