Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DUBAI: Tomas Berdych says Davis Cup must change

 Photo via Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Tomas Berdych has added his voice to Rafael Nadal – among other players – in suggesting the Davis Cup should become a biennial competition rather than a yearly affair.

Berdych, who has helped the Czech Republic win the last two editions of Davis Cup, will be taking a break from the event for the rest of the year, saying he needs the time to remain competitive with his fellow top-10 players.

He also thinks the Davis Cup is losing its allure when it’s played annually and likened the format of the European football championships, which are played every two years.

“I think it makes sense and would be really interesting and make players really like to play if the Davis Cup is every two years,” said Berdych.

“The World Cup in football is every four years, the European championships every two years, we don’t need four years but two years is a reasonable time.

“Because you finish the semi-final, in September, and after two days I’m getting phone calls asking me what I think about our first round opponents (next year). What’s this? We are going to play the final, enjoy that, let’s be ready for the final and the first question is ‘what do you think about your first round opponents next year?’ This kind of destroys the competition.”

Berdych also made other suggestions including reigning champions being allowed to have a bye in the first round the following year along with moving the final ahead so it doesn’t extend the season past the World Tour Finals.

The world No6 also explained his decision in missing the remaining ties of the season, saying: “I want to take some break because chasing all those (top) guys is really difficult.

“If you look at the calendar, my last two years I missed eight weeks because of Davis cup, four to play the matches and the week after you are dead to play a tournament or even prepare yourself. If you’re supposed to chase them and they have those eight weeks advantage, it’s really difficult.

“So I’ll try to take those weeks for myself, try to see if I am able to use them and maybe be better and move higher in the rankings.”

Berdych comes to Dubai after capturing his first title in 16 months in Rotterdam earlier this month and with fond memories from making the final here last year. But he says he still has a challenging week ahead of him.

“Confidence is one thing but then the tournament always starts from zero, from the first round, and there’s an opponent who really wants to beat you and play well. Yes, it’s an aspect that I can have in my mind that I was playing well and still am, but still there’s a big change coming from indoors, playing here outside. So I just need to start to build it up one more time again, be ready and go for it,” said the No3 seed, who faces qualifier Marius Copil in the opening round.

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