Rafael Nadal has opined that the International Tennis Federation should space out the Davis Cup to make it more suitable for the top players to compete in it. The Spaniard also suggested changing the frequency at which the tournament is conducted stating that having it every year devalues the event.
On Friday, Nadal said that he has been urging the International Tennis Federation for a while, to consider changing the format of the reputed tournament. Nadal has led Spain to glory in the Davis Cup in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the number of sets in a Davis Cup match would be reduced from a best of five to a best of three, to shorten the length of matches to two days, instead of three.
But for Nadal, this isn’t enough. He was quoted as saying, "In my opinion, it is not about best-of-three or best-of-five."
"In my opinion, it's about we cannot have a Davis Cup champion every year. That devalues the competition. If the top players are not playing very, very often, then you are making something not good".
Nadal believes that the ITF has too often focused on the "small picture" and has been satisfied with the Davis Cup final featuring just one big name player, even if the other top players stay away from the opening rounds, so as not to affect their regular schedules.
Nadal has urged the ITF to preserve the legacy of the tournament by saying, “(the) Davis Cup is a beautiful competition, a very emotional competition. To maintain that level of emotion, that level of quality of tennis, you need to do the things for the best players. And the best players need to feel comfortable playing every time that Davis Cup is going”.
He also revealed the grind of the Davis Cup by recalling the four times that Spain, with Nadal in their ranks, won the tournament in the space of 8 years.
“You know, you finish Davis Cup, last tournament of the year, December, and then in January, you start again. And it's tough".
Nadal has suggested that a new Davis Cup champion should be crowned every three years saying, “I don't mean one year Davis Cup, one year no Davis Cup. I mean, for example, two ties per year. That will be something reasonable and players will be very motivated to play Davis Cup."
Although Nadal had said, earlier this month, that he would not play in Davis Cup tie against Serbia, preferring to rest and prepare for the upcoming clay-court season, he has now indicated a change of heart.
On Friday as he prepared to begin his Indian Wells campaign, he was open to the possibility of featuring in the quarter-final tie that might also star World No. 2 Novak Djokovic.
Nadal concluded by saying, “I cannot say if I will be there or not, but it's obvious that the moment of the season is not a good one for me because I need to prepare myself for clay”.