Andy Murray backs major Davis Cup revamp

Andy Murray would like to see shorter Davis Cup matches but is not sold on the idea of neutral venues. Picture: SNS Group

Andy Murray would like to see shorter Davis Cup matches but is not sold on the idea of neutral venues. Picture: SNS Group

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Andy Murray would welcome a change of format in the Davis Cup but is less enthusiastic about proposals for finals to be staged at a neutral venue.

The International Tennis Federation announced plans to alter the set-up of Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals, one of which is to invite bids from national associations and cities interested in hosting finals.

The ITF is also proposing a final four event for the Fed Cup, which would involve the semi-finals and final being played in quick succession.

Other proposals include reviewing the best-of-five-sets format currently used in the Davis Cup.

Murray picked up a thigh injury playing three rubbers in three days as Britain lost to Argentina in the Davis Cup semi-final last weekend.

Speaking ahead of a charity exhibition match at Glasgow’s Hydro Arena last night, the 29-year-old was asked about the proposals for change.

He said: “I like the idea of changing the format, maybe shorten the weekend.

“For me personally the last three days, coming off the back of the Olympics, Cincinnati, the US Open and then being on court for 10 or 11 hours over three days, was really hard.

“A lot of the players have spoken about that, about potentially shortening the format, maybe playing it over Saturday and Sunday, best of three sets, I like that idea.

“Certainly to try something different. If it doesn’t work you can always change back as well.

“A lot of the top players have spoken about the scheduling and format of the Davis Cup for a number of years and nothing has changed so trying something new would give the event a lift for sure in terms of the participation of the top players.

“With the neutral venue, I am not sold on that. I do love the home and away atmosphere that we get in the Davis Cup just now. It is something that we as tennis players aren’t really used to because when we travel around the world we are playing in neutral venues a lot of the time and the home and away aspect of the Davis Cup is something that I enjoy and makes it different and special.”

The Fed Cup World Group, meanwhile, would be doubled in size from eight teams to 16 in line with the Davis Cup, with all changes needing to be approved at the ITF’s AGM in August 2017.

Murray, meanwhile, will take a break after last night’s event, which saw him take on Grigor Dimitrov in a singles match before teaming up with his brother Jamie to play the Bulgarian and Tim Henman in a doubles match. Money raised will go to UNICEF and a Glasgow charity, Young 
People’s Futures.

The Dunblane player said of his injury: “It is all right. It is a little bit sore but I am okay.

“I just think my body just needs a break now so after tonight’s event I will give myself a few days off to rest up and recover.

“I feel okay. I certainly feel a lot better than I did on Sunday, after 48 hours or so of rest.”

The world No 2 believes the charity event at the sold-out 10,000-capacity arena will 
further encourage youngsters to get involved in the sport.

He said: “It is very important. The Davis Cup as well has been great in doing that. Kids who haven’t watched tennis before who come along to the Davis Cup and see it is such an incredible amazing atmosphere there that will help them get into it and enjoy it.

“Tonight is the same thing, we want to have a great time and play some fun, entertaining tennis.

“We have had some fantastic support. I am very proud to have brought a tennis event here.

“All the money raised will be going to charity and that is why we wanted to set it up in the first place. Hopefully we can raise a lot of money and make a difference to a lot of children’s lives.”

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