McEnroe criticises Cup commitment

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The Independent Online

John McEnroe, the greatest player in US Davis Cup history, yesterday launched another attack on the nation's leading players who do not want to play in the international competition.

``For the life of me, I don't understand why players wouldn't want to do it," McEnroe said.

For all his outrageous behaviour and temperamental on-court outbursts, McEnroe was always a dedicated Davis Cup participant throughout his brilliant career and still holds several US Cup records, including most wins (59), most matches played (69) and most years (12) on the team.

``It's the same old, same old thing that we have been hearing for years," said McEnroe of the excuses used for passing up the competition. "Scheduling is a problem and makes it difficult for the players, but at the same time, ultimately this is Davis Cup where you represent your country."

McEnroe's statements were prompted by the refusal of four top-10 ranked Americans to play in the second round against the Czech Republic in Prague earlier this month. With Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang and Jim Courier all missing the tie, the defending champions lost 3-2.

``I'm not going to say that these guys don't care, but ultimately there is no just no explanation for it that's acceptable," said McEnroe, whose younger brother Patrick played in Prague, losing the deciding doubles match.

The 37-year-old McEnroe was supposed to be promoting his appearance in the over-35 Champions Tour tournament along with Jimmy Connors in Los Angeles next week. But questions about Davis Cup dedication among the current crop of American stars clearly struck a nerve.

In fact, McEnroe, who has actively campaigned for the job of US Davis Cup captain in the past, is no longer sure he wants the post.

``It has soured me in a sense, because I don't want to go around begging guys to play," he said. "To me that should be the easy part. The tough part should be picking who is going to play."