Davis Cup’s prestige hit with loss of ranking incentive

Move would mean even less incentive to take part

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The Davis Cup’s stature in the world game is set to be called further into question, with the Association of Tennis Professionals poised to stop awarding ranking points for matches.

The move would mean top players have even less incentive to take part in the historic competition.

Rewarding players who take part in the Davis Cup with ranking points has been one way of trying to keep the leading men onside, but the ATP has been concerned about the system’s fairness. Points are given only for matches played by those countries in the elite World Group or in World Group play-offs, which is seen as unfair on those players from smaller and less successful nations.

The system also counts against many players from countries with a large number of world-class men. France, for example, has 10 men ranked in the world’s top 100, which means that a top player such as Jérémy Chardy, who is the world No 32 but has five of his fellow countrymen ranked above him, has only ever played two Davis Cup rubbers.

Competition dates also regularly fall in the weeks after the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, when the top players in particular can be in need of a break.

James Ward, the British No 2, went out of the Shanghai Rolex Masters yesterday when he was beaten 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 by South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.

Britain’s Heather Watson won her first match for two months when she beat Serbia’s Jovana Jaksic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 at the Japan Open, to earn a second-round meeting with Yulia Putintseva.