Djokovic Calls For IOC To Review Implications Of Davis Cup Reforms
The "beleaguered" Int'l Tennis Federation is "facing more pressure over the controversial Davis Cup reforms," with Novak Djokovic leading a group of players in calling on the IOC to review eligibility rules for Tokyo 2020, according to Stuart Fraser of the LONDON TIMES. As the ITF manages the Olympic tennis event, players are "only eligible if they are part of a nominated Davis Cup team and present at the tie on a minimum of three occasions" -- one must be in '19 or '20 -- during the four-year cycle between Olympic Games. This is regarded as a "significant card that the ITF can play in order to ensure a strong field" at the inaugural Davis Cup Finals in Madrid next year. If players do not appear, they "run the risk of being regarded as ineligible to compete in Tokyo." There is a "growing belief within the locker room that this is unfair," particularly when the amount of Davis Cup ties has been "drastically reduced." A potential maximum of six opportunities between now and the Olympic entry deadline of June '20 is "down to three after the introduction of the new format." Sources insist that there is "no suggestion at this point" of an organized boycott of the Davis Cup or the Olympics (LONDON TIMES, 11/27).
'LOYAL TENNIS COMMUNITY': In Adelaide, Jesper Fjeldstad reported Lleyton Hewitt will return to Memorial Drive for the first time as Davis Cup captain, with Australia hosting Bosnia & Herzegovina in a qualifier on Feb. 1 and 2. Tennis Australia will resurface a center court for the event and also "put up temporary stands bigger than those used in the World Tennis Challenge," with the expected capacity for the Davis Cup tie around 5,000. The tie was made possible by the stage one redevelopment of the drive, which means the venue now has practice courts that conform with ITF requirements. The court will also be extended so that it meets requirements for the distance between the baseline and the back of the court -- "something that has been a hurdle for Memorial Drive in the past when it comes to sanctioned top level tennis" (THE ADVERTISER, 11/28).