Former India tennis star Vijay Amritraj said Friday that the new Davis Cup format is not going to affect the country much as it is still going to be playing home and away games in Group I and not the World Group matches. “As far as India is concerned, the new Davis Cup format will not affect as much because we will be playing home and away games in Group I. The home and away games in that group stay,” he told a section of media here.
Amitraj is in the city to attend a couple of events. Thursday night he had attended a dinner party hosted by Grover Zampa Vineyard. It will only make a difference if India qualifies for World Group matches, he added.
Amritraj said he does not think India should agree to play matches in a neutral country, for it will lose the advantage of playing in home conditions. “It is a special moment for us playing Davis Cup matches in India. We always had Prime Minister to announce the draw by picking up the lots. It is a big event in that city. And also, we will have home advantage to play better. We should not agree to play our matches in a third country. Let us see what happens in 2019,” he said.
Amritraj argued that Spain playing France in neutral country will not matter much in a three-set match. “In any case, if Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Del Potro, play anywhere, they are going to pull spectators, but what happens post their careers?” he asked.
Amritraj also said it will be difficult for players to play World Group matches because of the small resting period. “It will be difficult for players. By the time Davis Cup world group matches finish in December, players would have to start in February,” he added.
Amritraj suggested that World Group matches be held once in two years so that the teams playing towards very end, don’t need to start after a small gap to defend it. He also said many may not welcome the idea of playing all events in one city.
Asked what convinced the ITF Board to bring changes in Davis Cup, Amritraj said there was a need to inject money as the body was running short of it.
Secondly, it was necessary to pump in funds into smaller countries like Africa, Asia and South America, which they never got from ITF, he said. “These things are okay, but at what cost? They could have raised money, but not at the cost of home and away games in a span of four weeks,” he said.
Asked if he expects Leander Paes to make a comeback in Davis Cup, Amritraj said there is no use talking about it, for authorities concerned have been trying to get rid of doubles.
“I don’t know why we keep keep talking about doubles. The tournament directors have been trying to do away with it. People don’t go to Wimbledon saying I am going to watch doubles. The media sometimes does not publish doubles’ results. Let us talk about singles,” he said.