Australian Davis Cup captain Wally Masur respects Novak Djokovic’s opinion but says he’d prefer not to tinker with the format of the century-old teams’ event.
Nor does Masur agree with the world No.1 that the Australian Open should be contested “at least two weeks” later in the season.
Djokovic voiced his concerns this week, also calling for the introduction of (fifth set) tiebreakers in Davis Cup as debate rages around professional tennis’s seemingly endless season.
“The schedule is, especially for top players, very, very bad,” Djokovic said.
Masur empathises with Djokovic and the three other members of the so-called big four – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, who he says “are so good that they’re making semis or finals every week on every surface”.
“They’ve got a busy year and then you look at these four independent Davis Cup weeks where they might have to go completely to the other side of the world and then be back the next week,” Masur told AAP.
“Look, I get where he’s coming from and he’s not alone. Novak’s not the only voice suggesting the competition needs a rejig.
“I guess I’m a bit older; I love the tradition of Davis Cup.
“It’s very important to Australians – or to my generation of Australians – and I love the home-and-away aspect of it, but you’ve got to listen to the top players in the game and remain valid. You’ve got to keep with the times.”
In keeping with the times, there have been proposals for a World Cup-style Davis Cup tournament or for the competition to be held every two years instead.
“Or byes for every finalist, there’s things you can look at,” Masur said.
“I understand the idea that you’d like to get teams together for a two-week blowout where you decide the Davis Cup champion.
Masur, though, noted that the top players were now taking the big money on offer at the Indian Tennis Premier League instead of using the late-season window as their traditional break.
“Maybe I’m trying to look at everything through a golden lens but, to me, if the top players really valued the grand slams and they really valued Davis Cup and they really valued the Masters Series events, everything would flow from that,” he said.
“Money talks, but the pillars of our game are the slams and I’d like to think that Davis Cup is not too far behind.
“Some of the Davis Cup matches I’ve watched, there’s nothing better. They’re outrageous. They’re once-in-a-lifetime moments.”
As for moving the Australian Open, the richest and biggest sporting event on the calendar and which fits perfectly into our summer holidays, Masur said: “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”