The head of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has told reporters that there are ways Roger Federer could play at the next summer Olympic Games if he didn’t achieve the eligibility criteria.
David Haggerty spoke to reporters on Wednesday in London about the 20-time grand slam champion. At present, players have to play a certain number of Davis Cup ties within an Olympic cycle in order to be eligible. Federer hasn’t played in the competition since 2015. Overall, he has represented his country in 27 ties since 1999, winning 40 out of 48 matches played.
“We want as many of the top players playing, for sure. Roger has the opportunity to play Davis Cup in ’19 and ’20 and again the committee is there for exceptions and appeals for various reasons. It’s all laid out in the qualification rules.” The Metro quoted Haggerty as saying.
“I’d hope to see Roger in the Davis Cup and I’d love to see him in the Olympics.”
Next year will see that Davis Cup start its controversial new format. From 2019, the finals of the event will feature 18 teams taking part in a week-long competition held at one venue. The first being the Caja Magica in Madrid during November. Federer had previously indicated that he will not be playing in the competition. During the Shanghai Masters, he told reporters the new Davis Cup ‘is for the new generations.’
“I don’t know specifically with Roger, I don’t remember the exact times of his injuries but I know he has been injured at times when Davis Cup is being played. ‘It’s about making yourself available for the competition.” Said Haggerty.
“Sometimes, captains will choose different players to play. It’s not always based on ranking, it’s based on performance at that time.”
Federer’s dilemma comes at the time where there are reported moves by players to try and change the Olympic eligibility rules. The ITF is keen to keep the current system as it is their main tactic of attracting players to play in the Davis Cup. Fredrik Rosengren, who is the coach of Kyle Edmund, has claimed that a letter from Novak Djokovic is being sent to players in regards to calling for a change to the rules. Although the Serbian has made no public comment.
The rumoured motion by Djokovic comes at a time where players are unhappy with the Davis Cup changes. Which some deem too radical. During this year’s final between France and Croatia, numerous players openly expressed their opposition and Haggerty was subjected to heckling from the crowd whilst attending the tie.
Despite the rumours, the ITF has confirmed that they are yet to receive any letter. Although sources have confirmed that there is a letter going around between players.
“We’ve seen no letter. We’ve received no letter,” The ITF chief stated.
“We’ve heard about a letter but we’ve not seen a letter. I can say exactly what we said in a meeting in London that we had with the stakeholders with some of the players there: we’ve always been open to having conversations about Olympics qualification with the players.”
“It’s set for Tokyo – we have the qualifications – but we know with the change in Davis Cup that there will be some circumstances and appeals. We have a committee for that and we expect that. We will look at Olympic qualifications for 2024.”
Under the current rules, players are only eligible to play at the Olympic Games if they are part of a nominated Davis Cup team and are present at the tie on three occasions, with one of those occurring in 2019 or 2020. If a player has featured in at least 20 ties during their career, the requirement is reduced to two. If they fail to reach the criteria, they can appeal.
The first edition of the revamped Davis Cup finals will take place in 2019 during November 18-24 at the Caja Magica. The event has the financial backing of investment firm Kosmos, who have pledged to invest $3 billion over the next 25 years.
Grigor Dimitrov Blames Poor Monte Carlo Performance On ‘Big Infection’
The 29-year-old reveals the reason behind his error-stricken performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Thursday.
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov said he simply ‘didn’t play’ in his latest match at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning just two games against Rafael Nadal.
The world No.17 fell 6-1, 6-1, to the 20-time Grand Slam champion in less than an hour on Thursday. He won 48% of his first service points and 32% of his second, as he hit 32 unforced errors. A dismal performance from Dimitrov who had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy earlier in the tournament.
Whilst it was never going to be easy playing somebody of Nadal’s calibre, Dimitrov has revealed that he had been troubled by an issue away from the court. He has been suffering from a ‘big infection’ in his tooth which has had an impact on his preparation for the match.
“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days,” he said. “I have a big infection in my tooth. It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that.’
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week.”
It is another case of bad luck for Dimitrov on the Tour this season. At the Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals in what was his best Grand Slam performance since the 2019 US Open. However, in his last eight showdown with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev he was hindered by a back injury.
“It’s straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately,” he commented on his tooth. “Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is.’
“At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.”
Speaking in his press conference, Nadal said he ‘felt sorry’ for his opponent who ‘played a bad match.’ During the match the world No.3 wasn’t aware of Dimitrov’s problem but was told about it afterwards.
“I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy, a good friend. I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible,” he said.
Nadal, who is seeking a record 12th title in Monte Carlo, will play Russia’s Andrey Rublev next.
Dan Evans Fires Back At ‘No Manners’ Musetti
30-year-old Evans says he is not happy with recent comments the Italian has said about him.
British No.1 Dan Evans has branded fellow player Lorenzo Musetti ‘disrespectful’ after recording the most high-profile win of his career at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.
The world No.33 stunned Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, in what is his first ever win over a member of the prestigious Big Three. A trio that consists of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. What is even more remarkable is that Evan’s victory took place on the clay. A surface which he hadn’t won a Tour match on since 2017 prior to this week.
Speaking to reporters following his win over the world No.1, Evans was questioned about what was the difference between his match against Musetti last week and his performance in Monte Carlo. Prompting the Brit to hit out at the Italian who is dubbed as one of the rising stars of the Tour.
“How he spoke last week was embarrassing,” Evans said. “Let’s not talk about Musetti in my press conference.
“Last week he said some things in the Italian press about me that was disrespectful.
Musetti, if he apologises, I will answer. He’s a good tennis player, but he’s got no manners.”
The fallout between the two started last week after Musetti won their match at the Sardegna Open. Saving four match points in the final tiebreaker en route to the victory. Afterwards, the 19-year-old accused his rival of disrespecting him on the court.
“There are respectful experienced players on the court,” he said. “Others like Evans, they try to use my youth to (win) matches.
“But it’s all experience for me. Evans disrespected me. I don’t want to be treated like a young man.”
Whilst the two tennis players are unlikely to be friends anytime soon, Evans did praise the recent performance of his rival. Musetti is the youngest player in the top 100 on the men’s Tour and is one of only two players aged 19. The other is compatriot Jannik Sinner.
“He played very well last week. I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t take the match points. It’s just tennis. Yeah, he could do with learning some manners.” He concluded.
Evans is through to the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time in his career. Awaiting him in the next round is 11th seed David Goffin who defeated Alexander Zverev in his third round match.
New Setback Forces Dominic Thiem Out Of Belgrade
The Austrian tennis star has written a blog post on his website titled ‘my knee hurts!”
Dominic’s Thiem’s return to the Tour has been postponed for a second time due to a physical problem which he recently visited a doctor about.
The US Open champion has confirmed that he is currently suffering from pain in his knee and has decided to pull out of next week’s Belgrade Open. An ATP 250 event which will be headlined by world No.1 Novak Djokovic. It is unclear as to what kind of injury Thiem is suffering from or when the pain started. Earlier this year he confirmed that he had been suffering from a long-standing foot issue which gives him intermittent pain. Although there is no indication that these are linked in anyway.
“2021 just doesn’t want to get going. Unfortunately I will have to cancel my start at next week’s tournament in Novak Djokovic’s hometown Belgrade,” Thiem wrote in a statement. “My knee hurts and I went to see a doctor. It is not a big issue but I need to take care of it. I am definitely not fit enough to play next week.”
Earlier this month Thiem delayed his expected return to the Tour at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters because he was ‘not 100% yet.’ In a blog post on his website the Austrian admitted that he had ‘a lot of work to do’ and ‘tough weeks’ ahead. Thiem hasn’t played a match since the Dubai Tennis Championships after deciding to take a break from the sport in order to reset himself.
The hope for the world No.4 is that he will be back on track and ready to play at the Madrid Open which will begin on April 30th with the ultimate goal remaining to be back to full fitness at the French Open. Thiem’s most successful Grand Slam where he has reached finals in 2018 and 2019.
“I want to be completely fit at the beginning of May and play proper tennis,” he states.
“There is something positive, though: Coach Nicolas Massu arrived in Austria yesterday, we are going to continue my program even though at the moment we have to be careful. In the meantime I have also been working on my physical fitness with sports scientist Mike Reinprecht.’
“There is no doubt, the big goal till the summer are the French Open – in Paris I must be at my best.”
So far this season Thiem has only won back-to-back matches in one out of four tournaments played. Doing so at the Australian Open where he reached the fourth round before losing to Grigor Dimitrov. Since then he has suffered second round losses in Doha and Dubai. His win-loss record for 2021 currently stands at 5-4.
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