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Lleyton Hewitt criticizes organizers for “selling the soul” of the Davis Cup | Davis Cup

Lleyton Hewitt has expressed dismay at the state of the Davis Cup after it was revealed that the tournament could take place in Abu Dhabi from 2022. The Australian team c -tain Hewitt said the current format is “not what the Davis Cup is about”. an event he believes was once the pinnacle of the sport.

“The Davis Cup was held with the highest esteem because with five sets it was the highlight of our sport in men’s tennis. Grand Slams and Davis Cup, they’re the only ones who played five sets. We threw that out the door and now we’re throwing the home and away game out the door, ”said Hewitt as Australia prepared for their game against Hungary in Turin after losing their opening game to Croatia in this year’s finals .

He continued, “So if they sell the Davis Cup soul to the Middle East for another five years, I think it’s ridiculous, and they really kill the competition.”

A proposal for Abu Dhabi as the venue for the Davis Cup final in 2022 will be voted on next week at a board meeting of the International Tennis Federation in Madrid. When asked if he thought the Davis Cup c -tains and leaders should have more influence on the development of the competition, Hewitt shrugged and said, “We had no influence four years ago. I’m not sure if it will matter much now. It is run by a soccer player and his company. So it’s completely different from anything tennis has been through in the past and such a big event. “

Jiri Lehecka from the Czech Republic and Tomas Machac play the French Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas MahutThe Czechs Jiri Lehecka (right) and Tomas Machac lost in the British group against the French Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (left). Photo: Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty

As Britain was preparing for the finals in Innsbruck, C -tain Leon Smith took more moderate measures, stating that he did not know enough about the new proposal to express his full opinion. Earlier this week, ahead of the news about the 2022 location, Smith said he wanted more communication between the organizers and the players. On Friday, he reiterated his belief that it should be one of the biggest events on the calendar.

“When it’s all said and done, you see, I’m biased, that’s been a big part of what I’ve been through for the last decade,” said Smith. “A lot of the players here either grew up with it, played in it, or are part of it. Everyone loves to play. No matter what we think, we just want this competition to be the best it can be. I don’t know what that looks like or what could h -pen in the future, but we love that. You love it more when it feels like a big event, it feels like a big thing, it’s in front of a lot of fans. “

His team will face France on Saturday and the Czech Republic on Sunday to get out of their group and reach the knockout stage. This is the second Davis Cup final since Kosmos, the investment group co-founded by Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué, joined the ITF to partner the Davis Cup. The group stage of this year’s event will be split between Innsbruck, Turin and Madrid, where the two final rounds will be held. In Austria, games are now played behind closed doors due to the lockdown there.

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This is a positive time for the UK. Despite having played their first duel since 2013 without the presence of Andy and Jamie Murray, they can boast a broad, well-rounded squad in both singles and doubles. World number 12 Cameron Norrie leads the team while Dan Evans is the competition’s second-highest-ranking second individual in 25th place. Among the doubles, Joe Salisbury is now third and Neal Skupski is 20th. Liam Broady, who has enjoyed the season of his life, completes the team.

“Everyone is highly motivated and has a surge of confidence,” said Broady. “We not only have excellent tennis players behind us, but also an excellent team, an excellent team. I just think everyone wants to do their best. “

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