DUBAI (AFP) — Andy Roddick, who led the United States to regain the Davis Cup after a 12-year interval, has criticised the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for not doing more to reform the competition.
Roddick believes that the Davis Cup is one of, if not the biggest asset that the sport has, and that poor administration is contributing to its losing its biggest names.
The world's two leading players, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both opted out of their country's ties last month, while Andy Murray missed Great Britain's trip to Argentina with an injury problem.
Roddick, who has reached the quarter-finals of the Dubai Open here this week, admitted that the Davis Cup format and calendar dates need re-forming.
"But I don't know about whether it should be a two-week thing," he said. "Belarus reached the semi-final a couple of years ago, and it paid for a lot for them for about the next ten years.
"If you have a two-week Davis Cup you are taking that away from a country. But I probably would support change.
"It probably would be good after a Grand Slam. If you have time off you have to get yourself back up again."
He added: "I wish the ITF would be more open to change. I wish they would listen a bit more. I am not saying I am a genius and have all the answers but I wish they would listen a bit more."
Federer himself has complained that the different governing bodies who run the sport do not listen to the players enough.
Last year he raised several issues one of which was the placement of Davis Cup ties in the calendar, which he claimed are being poorly scheduled by the ITF.
And last week US tennis legend John McEnroe said that the format of the Davis Cup needs to be revised and players' attitudes also need to change.
"The fact the people who run the Davis Cup haven't made a change already is a complete joke, it's unbelievable," he said. "You look at the top players and you're lucky if half of them play now."
Murray added his voice to the mix here on Sunday, saying that individual ranking points should be given for results in the team competition.
"The Davis Cup is a great competition, but a lot of singles guys are looking at their rankings and making sure they get enough rest between the tournaments where they get ranking points," he said.
"So if they were to give a fair amount of points it would make it much easier for guys to put the Davis Cup into their schedule.
"It's just that it has to be fair for everyone and it is difficult because there are so many different groups and qualifying and stuff. It would be difficult to sort it out, but I think it's a pretty good idea."
Roddick was also concerned about the effect of the Davis Cup format on the finalists who risk an anti-climactic restart to the competition.
"I think as a minimum the two finalists should get a bye," he said. "When you come off a high of playing before sold-out stadium and winning and a playing a month and a half later on a suspect court it's not easy."
United States went to the Ferry Dusika Hallenstadion last month and had to battle hard to survive 4-1 against a far from top-notch Austrian side in Vienna.
Roddick's words come from the heart more than most people's because his is an unusually special feeling for the Davis Cup.
Not only did he spearhead his country's recapture of the trophy in December and did so on home soil in Portland, Oregon, but this is the event which caused him to take up the sport.
"I went to a final when I was ten years old I fell in love with the game," he said. "And I still love it.
"It was a long process to get through to the final. To have come full circle and be participating is a dream come true and I am glad I have come to share it with some of my best friends."
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