Mac puts knife into Davis Cup format
Sunday 20 June 2010
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
Eden Hazard exclusive interview: All is rosy in the garden of Eden
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Paul Scholes: Jose Mourinho's attempt to influence football's decision-makers is not working. In fact, it may have backfired
It's time to stop the 'small club' jibes after Chelsea signed £200m Yokohama deal
After record-breaking £5.136bn Premier League TV deal, why are Everton the only British club to win in Europe?
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East