Mac puts knife into Davis Cup format

There have been few greater supporters of the Davis Cup than John McEnroe, but the American is not jumping on any bandwagons to criticise players for not representing their country. Andy Murray is among the leading men – a group that includes Roger Federer and Andy Roddick – who have no immediate plans to play in the competition, but McEnroe believes the demands of the schedule make their stance understandable.

"I can see where these guys just bag it," McEnroe said when asked if he thought that Murray had a moral obligation to play in the Davis Cup. "There's as much of a moral obligation to change the format of it as there is on the guys to play in it."

Agreeing that he would not be as committed to the Davis Cup if he was playing today, McEnroe quoted the example of Novak Djokovic, whose recent indifferent form, he believes, is down to his recent hectic schedule.

"It hurt him for six weeks," McEnroe said. "He went straight from Dubai [at the end of February] to Belgrade to play Davis Cup indoors against America and then he went straight to Palm Springs. If you don't think that affected his results at the next couple of events, you're kidding yourself."

McEnroe thinks the International Tennis Federation need to consider options other than the current format (various dates are reserved for the Davis Cup throughout the year), such as playing all the matches in one concentrated period. "I think at the very least I would advocate they don't play Davis Cup in Olympic year – and perhaps it should be played every other year," he said.

"At the absolute bare minimum, which I've been advocating for 30 years, the guys who play in the first week of December in the final should be given an automatic bye. Those two teams shouldn't have to play until June or something. It's absurd they have to come back two months later."

McEnroe, who will be commentating at Wimbledon for the BBC, said the schedule made Federer's fitness record – he has played in 42 Grand Slam tournaments in succession – all the more remarkable, though he wonders how long the Swiss can keep going at such a consistently high level. "I think at some point guys lose an edge, whether you're Roger Federer or not," McEnroe said. "The guy's a human being."

While McEnroe sees Murray, Roddick and Nadal as serious challengers to Federer at Wimbledon, he also made a case for his fellow American John Isner, a 6ft 9in giant with a huge serve who has climbed to No 19 in the world rankings.

"It's not impossible to come up with a scenario where he could win, if the right things come into play," McEnroe said. "No one wants to play a guy like that. I think he's a step above [Ivo] Karlovic. I think he's got more game and he manages a match even better than Karlovic."

Wimbledon coverage will be available on BBC HD, BBC1, BBC2, BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Red Button, BBC Mobile and BBC iPlayer

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'