x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Tomas Berdych wants to see changes to Davis Cup

The Czech, who won the tournament in 2012 and 2013, calls for a change in the schedules and wants it staged every two years.

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic hits a forehand return to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their quarter-final match at the Australian Open on January 22, 2013. Aaron Favila / AP Photo
Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic hits a forehand return to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their quarter-final match at the Australian Open on January 22, 2013. Aaron Favila / AP Photo

DUBAI // Winning the Davis Cup in 2012 and defending that title successfully 12 months later has been the highlights of Czech Tomas Berdych’s career, but the world No 6 reckons tennis’ equivalent of the World Cup needs a few changes to save itself from destruction.

Berdych and Radek Stepanek were the stars for the Czech Republic as they defeated Spain 3-2 in the 2012 final to win the title for the first time and the duo were at the forefront again last November as they defeated Novak Djokovic’s Serbia team to retain the title.

The two Davis Cup medals helped Berdych forget about his 16-month drought of individual titles, but he is not happy about many aspects of the tournament, echoing the sentiments of some of the sport’s biggest names, who are often reluctant participants.

“Basically, I did not miss [winning] a title,” Berdych, 28, said. “We won the Davis Cup and I think that’s a pretty big one to have. It’s been there for more than 100 years and there are not many competitions with a history like that.

“So, on one side, I think it’s pretty good, but if they want to maintain the uniqueness of the tournament, I think they should really listen to the players and see basically what needs to change. No one talks about completely different scenarios or anything like that, but I think there could be a few changes that would help a lot.”

Better scheduling is one of the first things that Berdych would like to see. Currently, the first round of the world groups are held in the first week of February, the quarter-finals in April, the semis in September and the finals in November.

“First, I think we could maybe avoid making the winner play the first round, which means the world group could be a bit smaller,” Berdych said.

“The other thing is definitely the dates. It finishes so late and that makes a difficult season even more difficult.

“Twice, I have finished my season at the end of November. Those are extra weeks, which we can easily find in between.

“The final could be held in September, because there is such a long break between the quarters and the semis. You can just move the semis somewhere in between and have the final in September.”

Berdych also believes the now-annual Davis Cup should be held every two years, which might help attract more top players to the team competition.

“The football World Cup is held every four years,” he said. “We don’t need to have it every four years, but two years, I think, would be reasonable time.”

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