TENNIS: McEnroe accuses American players

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The Independent Online
JOHN McENROE, the American former world No 1, has classed Davis Cup tennis a "joke" and at its "lowest point in history' - while at the same time admitting that he could not become the United States captain because it might involve begging the nation's top players to represent their country.

The US, who surprisingly lost their recent Davis Cup semi-final against Italy, start their next campaign in April against a Great Britain side containing Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman. Neither of the Americans highest- ranked players, Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi, played in that defeat - something that McEnroe would like to see remedied.

"Tennis has become a joke in the Davis Cup and the Olympics," he said. "It just doesn't seem the players ultimately care about playing. That I never will understand. Considering the amount of money and all the attention they get from the game, you'd think they'd at least want to represent their country for four weeks a year maximum."

McEnroe said it would be too difficult for him to play a direct role in lifting Davis Cup out of the doldrums. "I guess I'd have to get on my knees and beg Sampras to play, which is one reason I don't want to take the job," he said. "I can't imagine bending that low."

The winner of the Great Britain-US tie will meet the winner of Australia v Zimbabwe. Germany's Davis Cup team manager, Boris Becker, will not succeed Klaus Stauder as president of the German federation - at least, not according to Stauder himself.

"Boris has told me clearly that he has no ambition to become president." Stauder said. "He would no longer feel free and independent [if he did]."