Nadal says three-set matches not the so­lu­tion

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IN­DIAN WELLS: The in­tro­duc­tion of best-of-three set matches in the Davis Cup won’t be enough to halt the drain of top tal­ent from the 117-year-old world ten­nis tour­na­ment, Rafael Nadal said Fri­day.

Nadal, who helped Spain to Davis Cup ti­tles in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011, said he had long urged the In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion to con­sider sweep­ing re­forms to the ven­er­a­ble event.

But plans an­nounced this week to re­duce rub­bers from best-of­five to best-of-three and pos­si­bly shorten ties from three to two days don’t go far enough.

“In my opin­ion it is not about best-of-three or best-of-five,” he said. “In my opin­ion, it’s about we can­not have a Davis Cup cham­pion ev­ery year,” Nadal said.

“That de­val­ues the com­pe­ti­tion. If the top play­ers are not play­ing very, very of­ten, then you are mak­ing some­thing not good.”

Nadal said that the ITF has too of­ten fo­cused on the “small pic­ture” and was too sat­is­fied to have a Davis Cup fi­nal fea­tur­ing a big name even if top play­ers shied away from ear­lier rounds be­cause they didn’t dove­tail with their tour sched­ules.

“Davis Cup is a beau­ti­ful com­pe­ti­tion, a very emo­tional com­pe­ti­tion,” he said. “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.”

Nadal thinks a Davis Cup cham­pion should be crowned ev­ery three years.

“I don’t mean one year Davis Cup, one year no Davis Cup,” he said. “I mean, for ex­am­ple, two ties per year. That will be some­thing rea­son­able and play­ers will be very mo­ti­vated to play Davis Cup.”

He re­called the grind he felt when Spain won four ti­tles in the space of eight years.

“You know, you fin­ish Davis Cup, last tour­na­ment of the year, De­cem­ber, and then in Jan­uary you start again. And it’s tough.”

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