Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is It 2012 Yet?

by Savannah


In the wake of Spain's Davis Cup team's crushing defeat of Argentina followed by statements from Feliciano Lopez, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer that they will not play DC in 2012 and rumors that Albert Costa will not be DC Captain there was a lot of speculation about the role that Nicolas Almagro will play in 2012. Almagro, aware of the speculation, answered in a series of Tweets and a long blog post.

To summarize it seems he's saying that even if the top 400 Spanish players declined to play he doubts he'll be considered due to his total inability to play well on hard courts. The blog post is of course in Spanish and in the shit Google translation (no idioms) appears to be very introspective and philosophical.

With Spain seemingly out of the running for 2012 it's very possible one of the bridesmaids of the World Group will be singing and dancing at the end of next year. Who? I have no idea.

The 2012 World Group is as follows:


1. Spain
2. Argentina
3. Serbia
4. France
5. Czech Republic
6. United States
7. Croatia
8. Russia

The seeded nations will play against the following countries:


While typing this I wondered if Russia is cheating by having two teams but I digress...

What I am happy about is that the spectacle in Seville has probably shut down the bitching of the "lets change Davis Cup" crowd for now. I'm sure there'll be sniping from the sidelines about eliminating the choice of surface option among other things once play gets underway but that's another column for another year.

While the drama about who will carry on the winning tradition in Spain goes on the drama in the United States is about who will reestablish the tradition in the axis countries. I've been ranting about the feeling of entitlement among the axis countries when it comes to Davis Cup play but I recently read some statistics, maybe I should say misuse of statistics, that go a long way in justifying their feelings.

Consider the following:

No nation other than the USA, Great Britain, France or Australia won the Davis Cup between 1900 and 1974. That's three-quarters of a century. And the next nation to break through was still strongly Anglo-European South Africa (although they won by walkover, when India refused to play because of South Africa's official embrace of apartheid). 
Since '74 though, eight new nations have been added to the honor roll. All that is, to some degree, the result of the dramatic shift to "Open" tennis, which arrived in 1968 and abolished the historic separation of players into amateurs and professionals...
Until 1972, when the present-day World Group format was adopted, the ITF used the "Challenge Round" approach. That is, the winner each year sat out the competition until the other nations of the world played at intervals over must of the next year for the right to "challenge" the holder in a final.
...the ITF ought to make a significant effort to draw a bold, thick line between the Challenge Round and World Group eras. It has not done so to this point, and while that lessens the complications, it doesn't help the game appear of-the-moment, representative, or credible. If we're so happy and eager to separate the amateur and Open eras, why not do the same for Davis Cup, now that we have enough World Group history to call on? 
That would make 1972 the first year of the professional era. Now you would have the U.S. with 8 titles, Sweden still with 7, Australia with 6, Spain with 5, France and Germany with 3, and one apiece for Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, South Africa and Serbia — and Great Britain with zero. That seems to me a very accurate reflection of tennis geopolitics and something very much like an accurate power ranking of tennis nations.
Please click the above link for the source.

I agree 100% with this proposal. I don't think it's going to happen in time for next year but it could and should be implemented. That way we'll be comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges. I think the Brits will fight the concept tooth and nail though. I'd like to be proven wrong but I don't think I will be.

End Notes

There are reports out of Britain that Judy Murray, mother of Andrew Murray, is going to be the next Fed Cup captain for that nation. I wonder who will coach her son?

I'm still not quite sure why Brad Gilbert got his panties all in a bunch about Sports Illustrated passing over Novak Djokovic for recognition as Sportsman of the Year. I'm also not sure why he posted his rant on Twitter. I'm thinking he must have a blog or something somewhere where he can vent his feelings. Then again maybe not.

Okay I lied. I know exactly why he did it, or I think I do. I've written here before about the close ties between the American tennis establishment and Djokovic. I guess Djokovic's American connections thought that they could get him something players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, hell, Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf never got from SI as the magazine is called here.

Most ot the tennisheads pointed this out to Mr. Gilbert saying that the bigger slight, the one he can legitimately rant and rave about, is to tennis.
Later in the day Mr. Gilbert Tweeted something to the effect that yes the bigger slight is to tennis not an individual he happens to think a lot of. How gauche for him to let the facade slip so badly.

From now on he's Deputy Marat to you all. I mean he's already wearing leather...just saying.


All the pictures of WTA players in gowns with make up slathered all over their faces that are used to promote the women's game pale in comparison to this photograph of Svetlana Kuznetsova. In one picture you have beauty, athleticism and grace. The powers that be should hire this person as official photographer no?

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