So Eurosport posts the following article re the Spain vs United States Davis Cup tie that will take place in Austin, Texas this July.
The Spanish tennis federation has appealed to Davis Cup organisers over the surface chosen by the United States for their World Group quarter-final in July.
The surface, known as Indoor Hard Premiere, was not on the list approved by the International Tennis Federation, the sport's world governing body which runs the Davis Cup, the RFET said in a statement on its website.
The company that made the court, which the RFET named as Premier Concepts Inc., was not one of 91 ITF-approved manufacturers, it added.
"It's a court that we are not familiar with because it doesn't meet the criteria," Spain Davis Cup captain Albert Costa said in Barcelona.
"So the problem I have right now is to explain to the players what kind of court they will encounter, because even if we wanted to train on a similar one we could not install it because it is not approved."
The ITF said it had received the RFET's appeal, adding that its Davis Cup committee had been asked to consider whether the Austin surface complied with competition rules.
"The committee is in the process of considering this appeal with a decision expected later this week," the ruling body said. Tim Curry, a spokesman for the United States Tennis Association (USTA), said all questions should be referred to the ITF given that it was their rules at issue.
The article goes on to say that the surface was used this year at the SAP Open in San Jose and notes that Fernando Verdasco lost the match he played on it to Milos Raonic.
There is no disputing that fact, or the fact that the surface has been used before in Davis Cup and Fed Cup play.
The thing is the ITF has a list of 91 surfaces that are eligible to be used for DC competition. This surface is not on the list.
The rule book also states that to be eligible a surface has to have been used a total of three times on the ATP tour in the prior year. The prior year is 2010. Not 2007. Not 2009. Not 2011. 2010. At least in my universe that's what last year was.
We all know the surface a Davis Cup tie is played on is the opening salvo of the competition. Does Spain slow it's clay down if it has to play the United States? Do the South Americans? I'd wager that any country playing the United States in Davis Cup will find a clay court to play us on, the slower the better.
When the United States played Spain in North Carolina the surface was so fast it was compared to an ice skating rink. I'm sure they still make that stuff so why propose a surface that is blatantly illegal? After all there are 91 (yes I'm repeating myself) surfaces to choose from.
The arguments in favor of the choice have ranged from "Jim Courier is an honest guy" to "it's been used before". None address the rule book. The USTA is saying "talk to the ITF".
What's my beef? What's fair is fair. Either throw out the list of accepted surfaces and let the United States play on glass or deny this surface based on the rules governing Davis Cup play. The Europeans already hate the USTA so if an exemption is granted this will only add more fuel to the fire.
The decision will come down on Thursday.
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