‘The Most Stupid Decision In Sporting History’ – Jan Kodes Slams Davis Cup Reform Plans

Jan Kodes (zimbio.com)

Three-time grand slam champion Jan Kodes has severely criticised plans to reform the Davis Cup in a statement sent to Ubitennis and other media figures.

Last week the International Tennis Federation revelled their proposal for a world cup of tennis. The 18-team tournament would take place over a week at a yet to be confirmed location. It has received financial backing by Kosmos, an investment firm founded by footballer Gerard Pique. The company has pledged to invest $3bn over 25 years if it goes ahead.

The announcement has been met with a mixed response. Should it goes ahead, there will no longer be home and away ties. A factor that has lead to the Belgium and French tennis federations both saying that they will vote against it. On the other hand, other figures such as Novak Djokovic has welcomed the attempt to try to revamp the format in order to attract the big names to the tournament.

72-year-old Kodes, who won the 1973 Wimbledon Championships, has drawn parallels between the idea and a defunct tournament. In the past Germany has hosted a team event called the ‘World Team Cup’ before it was cancelled in 2012. The Czech has labelled the potential passing of the plan as ‘the most stupid mistake in sporting history.’

“If the new Davis Cup format will be confirmed at the ITF general meeting this year, that could be the most stupid decision in sporting history.” Kodes wrote in an email sent to Ubitennis.
“A one-week World Cup supported by the ATP was played for several years in Rochus Club, Dusseldorf with no success and was later cancelled.”

Kodes is regarded as an icon in Davis Cup history. Playing more ties and winning more matches than any other Czech player in the competition. Over a 14-year period he featured in 39 ties, winning 60 out of 94 matches played.

He continued his criticism by describing those who support the possible changes in the Davis Cup as ‘ignorant.’

“All Davis Cup events are mostly packed with home crowds, because they have a very strong national spirit and historically this is the oldest sport competition in the world. To change the name (format)? Why? Only the ignorant could support these kind of changes.” He said.

Supporters argue that playing the event throughout the year is hard for many given how packed the calendar is. There is also the risk of overplaying causing injury. Although Kodes has dismissed this motion. Arguing that it is the surface tournaments are played on that are causing the damage to players health.

“Top guys such as Murray, Djokovic, Raonic, Nadal, Tsonga, Federer, Nishikori, Wawrinka, Monfils and more guys are struggling with injuries due to the hard surfaces, which soon or later do more and more damage to the game.” He claims.
“This is not a mistake of the Davis Cup format, this is the wrong thinking of the ATP, WTA, ITF officials, managers, TV rights owners and tournament directors.”

The potential world Cup of tennis will be debated at the ITF’s AGM meeting in August before it goes to a vote. A approval of two thirds is required in order for it to go ahead. Should it get approved, the first tournament could occur next year.

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