Davis Cup hard courts will be just right from now on, not too fast and not too slow. Boring!
After the U.S. won the Davis Cup title in smashing fashion by winning the first three rubbers in the final, I asked the following question: Can the U.S. win the Davis Cup again next year? I gave it a less than 50/50 shot at it because U.S. players are terrible on clay court surfaces.
I forgot that Davis Cup organizers at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) are adding rules to regulate hard court speeds. Now it’ll be even harder for the U.S. to repeat.
This year’s final was a home court event for the U.S. so they got to choose the playing surface. You can be sure they chose the fastest hard court they could get their hands on. If an ice skating rink had been available, they’d have used that.
In the future, Davis Cup rules will prevent countries from choosing a hard court surface that is too fast or too slow.
This hurts the U.S. because they specialize in hard servers and big hitters and they’ll be forced to choose a slower court next time. No word yet on what range of speeds is acceptable but it makes a difference. Roger Federer complained about the slowness of the court in Paris after he lost to David Nalbandian there.
I notice that the ITF hasn’t mentioned regulating the speed of clay courts. The indoor clay court Belgium used against the U.S. last year looked like a bunch of kids had thrown some loose clay on a gym floor so they could wallow around in it. At this point, the ruling change appears to benefit South America and Spain which have the largest number of clay court lovers.
If Spain met Argentina at home in Davis Cup next year, I wonder if they’d choose grass courts so Nadal could beat up on Argentina since he almost beat Federer at Wimbledon? Even better, why not just use that half-grass half-clay concoction Federer and Rafael Nadal played on last year?
Remember that the ITF will not allow countries to choose hard courts that are too slow either. I’m not sure I see the point of this. If a country wants a slow court, all they have to do is choose a clay court.
I’m also not sure I like the changes. Tennis is becoming too regimented. Grass courts are slowing down. Davis Cup has unlimited challenges making linespeople secondary. How long will it be before all lines are called electronically? Round robin tennis was booted out before it even got started.
It’s no fun anymore. You can’t watch someone hit ace after ace on a fast grass court. You can’t even argue a call or cheat at Davis Cup.
I guess that’s the point.
Here are my previous last thoughts about the Davis Cup final.