Tony Roche and Hewitt live and breathe the Davis Cup. They continue to be so passionate about it, but I know that love has been somewhat lost in others.
Neutral venues, unengaged fans – it’s a far cry from Australia taking on Andy Murray in Glasgow 2015 when the Scotland star picked up Britain and carried them on his shoulders to victory.
There is only so much money can buy one. Players have found that the competition no longer has the excitement and thrill it once had. It’s lost a bit of its soul.
I can understand why guys like Kyrgios who are so motivated by atmosphere and experience aren’t as inspired.
So much money has been pumped into the sport in recent years. Some countries have no problem pulling out the checkbook to get players on board – even for exhibition events.
It’s hard for some to resist the temptation, especially when hearing that Nick has earned six figures by attending an exhibition in Dubai at the same time as Australia’s Davis Cup final against Canada.
But being ready to play an exhibition event is not the same as being ready for the Davis Cup grind.
Who are we to tell if someone is fully fit to walk? I’m not going to question Nick’s intentions. Obviously he was a bit bruised and we can see that now as he retires from the Open.
Being fit enough, both physically and mentally, to play a show is not the same as being in the condition to help Australia win a Davis Cup final. And I honestly don’t think it was the last we saw Nick in Davis Cup.
I remember Roger Federer didn’t play in Davis Cup but we blast this situation with Nick like he’s a villain because he takes care of himself. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last. Teams will always choose players who want to be there, that’s the reality.
Hopefully the revival of the format will increase player interest. The ITF now has a chance to sit down and reflect on what made this competition so great, which is the home and away games.
Play it over two years if you must so players don’t have to travel as much. But I think it’s pretty clear that we need to rediscover this tribalism and this parochialism. We need to make Davis Cup great again.
John Millman is Channel 9’s Tennis Ambassador. The Australian Open is exclusive, live and free on Channel 9 and 9Now.
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/the-davis-cup-has-lost-its-soul-it-s-time-for-change-20230119-p5cdx6.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport The Davis Cup has lost its soul. It’s time for change, writes John Millman