Federer, Nadal Show Davis Cup Not a Priority Anymore
by Richard Vach | October 3rd, 2006, 12:16 am

Where world No. 1 Roger Federer and muscle-bound No. 2 Rafael Nadal go, so goes tennis fandom, including “fringe” tennis fans.

The 2007 Davis Cup was drawn last week, including the exciting first-round match-up such of Switzerland vs. Spain.

Federer and Nadal’s response?


The rest of international sports’ response to Davis Cup?


Why should international sports fans care about the Davis Cup, which is already bypassed annually by U.S. sports outlets, when tennis itself doesn’t even care about the Davis Cup?

Federer hasn’t played in a World Group match in over two years, explaining that his quest for the No. 1 ranking and additional Slam titles precludes him for extending himself for one weekend a few times a year. His one concession over the last two years has been swooping in at the end of the year during the World Group Playoffs to save the Swiss team from being bumped out of the elite group into zonal play.

Nadal for his part watches the way Federer goes about his business very closely. Nadal also wants to be No. 1 one day, and Rog has shown the Spaniard the way — blowing off the Davis Cup.

“I don’t know if I’ll play,” Nadal said Monday. “Normally, I don’t play the first round and at this moment I don’t know if I will.”

Nadal peaked in Davis Cup too early, in 2004 capturing the title in his very first year of competing for Spain, playing in all four ties and beating the U.S. in the final at Sevilla on clay. He’s already climbed the mountain. Insert cliche here.

With two French Open titles in the bag, Nadal knows what is important to his legacy — Slam titles, and lots of them.

“My aim is to play well at every tournament,” Nadal said.”But, given what it stands for, the one I would really like to do well in is Wimbledon…I’m still young and I have to keep working hard so that one day I will have the chance to become No. 1.”

It may not seem like it should be the ATP’s concern (they still don’t list the Davis Cup weeks on their yearly calendar, as if it didn’t exist), but the 105-year-old event, the largest international competition in world sport, is being squeezed by the tour’s want for players to compete at more events, while somehow remaining fresh for the Slams, and somewhere fitting in Davis Cup.

The Davis Cup is in danger of going the way of the women’s Fed Cup — the annual weeks where the players pony-up injuries or plead “exhaustion,” and B- and C-level players compete (bad that is unless you’re Kirsten Flipkens, and you suddenly get to take center stage as one of Belgium’s “top players”).

If the fantasy “Commissioner of Tennis” title did exist, and John McEnroe were at the helm, he’d be chewing someone’s ass over tennis treating it’s premier international competition like Mia Hewitt treats a diaper.

You want to watch Tommy Robredo vs. Stan Wawrinka in February, or Rog vs. Rafa? Which is better for tennis?

Roger Federer is responsible for Davis Cup. Rafael Nadal is responsible for Davis Cup. The International Tennis Federation is responsible, the ATP is responsible. Because with the increased physical and scheduling demands on the top players and no one being responsible for Davis Cup — with just the hope that players feel some patriotic duty to participate — it ain’t workin’ anymore.

(Ed. Note: Reportedly the Associated Press had misquoted Nadal, who said he wasn’t sure Federer would play, but that he would play. We are still waiting for a confirmation.)

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16 Comments for Federer, Nadal Show Davis Cup Not a Priority Anymore

Mitchell Says:

Nadal shot his Davis Cup wad too early??? What kind of tennis writer are you? This isn’t soft-core pornography. Get a grip.

You’re offensive and disgusting, and that is coming from a 25 year old gay, liberal tennis fan.

Brian Says:

Mitchell take a look at the site you’re on. It says right at the top “Xtreme Tennis news for Xtreme tennis fans.”

“Xtreme” is the shtick here.

Thanks Mitchell Says:

“Nadal shot his Davis Cup wad too early??? What kind of tennis writer are you? This isn’t soft-core pornography. Get a grip.
You’re offensive and disgusting, and that is coming from a 25 year old gay, liberal tennis fan. ”

Thanks for putting into words the disgust I felt when reading this article. Bloggers like this give sports journalism a bad name.


Just like the Slams, Davis Cup should be made more professional and the organisers should do something to make it more appealing to sponsers taking the examples of the Soccer World Cup or the Olympics. It’s all about the fans, not players or administrators or filthy writers like you Mr. Vach.

Like Xmas? Says:

Xtreme like Xmas? or Xtreme like X-rated? or simply Xtreme like eXtreme?

So, what next? Will Mr. Vach start commentating on the length of skirts of women tennis players or the tightness of shorts of men tennis players.

If he goes on writing like this, he will get a good job as a peep show commentator.

10nis 4 u Says:

fed unlike any onother player, as to win the cup by himself.

that means he has to win 3 points in every tie, while winning grand slam and being no1.

he needs help from his team, from stan, he cants do in all the time all the ties by himslef, he tried for about 6 years and took them to the sami, but he cant do it without hearting his other gols, no1 ranking and grand slam, so why should he do it, whats more importent.

I am sure that when fed sees the he can count on stan to help him win some ties so he wont have to win all 3 points always, if they playing home or away he will play.

this is they differnce between fed and nadal.

in that win of spain in 2004, how many live matches did nadal win in all of the ties, were they all in hom on clay.

he did his job, v roddick in the final on clay, now tell me if it was other players from the top 20 how many could do it when playing roddick on clay in home, a lot, dont you think?

and nadal still had problems beating roddick on clay, I gauss he really doesnt like big servers.

in 1996 when pete won the davis cup for us on clay in russia, how many ties did he play to get to the final, how many wines did he had in those ties.

that is the differnce btweemn fed and other players. he not only have to win it for them in the final he also have to get them there. pete didnt have to do it, and he didnt do it, and nadal also didnt do it.

so, I dont have any problem with fed in this case, when stan is able to help him I am sure he will play, stan is a great player just need littale time.

Federer Fan Says:

I agree with 10nis 4 u… I don’t have a problem with Federer picking and choosing which tie to play. Just look at what happened this past Davis Cup tie – The Swiss had to rely on Federer winning all 3 points. That’s very difficult to do (even for Roger) for every single Tie.

One thing Davis Cup needs to do is adapt a schedule like the Ryder Cup in golf – hold it every 2 years instead of every year. The ink on the champion’s cup hasn’t even dried yet before we’re starting another round for the next championship. It’s just too much to expect one player to play every Grand Slam, all the Master’s event, still show up for some of the smaller tournament to please them, and to play all the Davis Cup ties in one year… Just too much! You have to think about yourself as a tennis player because your career will not last forever. Pacing yourself is the key and if Federer and Nadal has to do that by taking off during some of the Davis Cup ties – then so be it. Not a problem for me.

Shannon Says:

The Nadal quote is mistranslated. He’s talking about Federer, not himself. Or so I hear from someone who actually lives in Spain and saw him say it. He’s said many times that Davis Cup is his favorite event. Unless he’s injured, I’ll be very very surprised if he doesn’t play.

Amy Says:

I don’t know about Federer’s commitment to Davis Cup, but here’s a link to Nadal’s comments on Davis Cup in Spanish. He clearly states that he’s not sure if Federer will play in the tie. He also indicates that he will be playing. The AP mistranslated his comments in their article.


mercedes Says:

The problem with Davis cup is that it places undue pressure on the top player particularly when the rest of the team is not as good. This seems particularly true of Switzerland where Federer, to use your words, is forced to swoop in and save the day. Spain at least has a more well rounded team (not taking away from the swiss team but it is a fact). It would be nice if both players could make it a priority from the beginning but expecting them to do it without sacraficing performance at other tournaments that are indivdually more important is a bit much! The Ryder cup suggestion- having it every second year is a good one.

If it is to be a priority the ATP needs to support it and allow it to fit within schedules although by the scheduling of Toronto & Cinncinatti back to back I sometimes doubt whether they have the players, or indeed the sport’s best interests at heart.

Nadal & Federer are great ambassadors for the sport but the mantle of all time tennis saviours is a heavy one to bear.

Allan Says:

Its very simple – the ATP needs to start giving ranking points for Davis cup, just like they started doing it for the Olympics. then players have an incentive to play. At the same time, reduce the number of tournaments they need to play – reduce masters tournaments to 8 (from 9), and reduce the other tournaments for ranking points to 4 (from 5). Freeing up two tournaments would create enough space for most players to squeeze in davis Cup. Of course, the question of prize money still remains.

euroka1 Says:

Davis Cup doesn’t mean much any more. National team members no longer necessarily reside in the country they represent. The host country tips the result by being able to choose the surface. Those dead rubbers are pretty meaningless.

I think it is probably beyond saving. It is another casualty of big money professionalism in tennis. Giving ranking points, as suggested above by Allan may help to attract players.

Federer Fan’s suggestion of having it once every two years might stay the decline but the sad fact is that, without the prospect of big money, nobody is very interested at present.

CB Says:

10nis 4 u

You asked if Nadal won all of his singles DC 2004 matches at home on clay. No- in February 2004- Spain was playing in the Czech Republic and Nadal beat Stepanek in a decisive rubber.

GopiB Says:

Agree that Davis Cup should be important. Like the Ryder Cup in Golf is (or should be).

But the obsession with Slams – constant reminder of Pete’s 14 slams almost every other minute – is the chief culprit. No one recounts Davis Cup wins that way, right?

If you are really serious about Davis Cup, then why start the heated debates on utterly dubious records such as year end #1s. You know you are never going to be year end #1 playing all year in Davis Cup!

Federer and Nadal are the not the first ones not to dedicate themselves to Davis Cup. Connors, Pete, and many other greats focused either on tournament wins or slams, instead.

Davis Cup format should be changed a bit. If the singles players can only play one match, and are not allowed to play doubles, then it will become more of a team event.

And it will not unduly tilt the result regardless of whether Federer plays or not. Further he and Nadal will be more motivated to play if it is only one match, and the whole thing doesn’t revolve around them.

The team would consist of 4 singles players and 2 doubles players – a bigger team for representing the whole country. Ryder cup has 12 players each, Cricket has 11 players each, and so on.

You draw the matches just as they do for Ryder cup. You place your order of matches, the opponents place theirs and then compare. You may get a Federer- Nadal match-up or not. But that’s the suspense.

Ultimately, the team with the most number of better tennis players should win Davis Cup. Does it sound meaningful that Federer plays in 3 matches- 2 singles and 1 doubles – wins them all, repeats it thru the year and wins Davis Cup for Switzerland. Everyone will know that was an individual accomplishment and not a team success.

So the point is, the way Davis Cup is structured, it doesn’t help for Federer and Nadal to play and still keep it a team event.

Davis Cup needs a revamp if it were to be successful in this century.

Aleman Says:

Not a lot of people in America care about tennis to begin with. Probably just a small percent, as there are at least 10 sports more popular than tennis. So how can that same amount of tennis fans care about Davis Cup? I would think even less care about that event. I think the Davis Cup schedule the only schedule almost as stupid as having the French and Wimbledon so close together.

TejuZ Says:

This author is all about showin fed and nadal in Bad light.. check out any of his articles..he is soooooooo very obsessed that he even dreams of them everyday i guess

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