Since he sat on the bench of the national team Australian, Lleyton Hewitt has tamed the most fiery impulses that had characterized his exploits in the playing field, but instinct is instinct, and the character is not inclined to bow his head in the face of abuses. The ex-bad boy from Adelaide shows up a little depressed at the press conference after the sharp defeat suffered against Croatia in Davis’ debut in Turin, but the sporting disappointment, burning but still the result of field questions and in any case calmed by a mathematics that has not yet been condemned, becomes lucid anger when the reporters press him onhot topic of the moment, that is the further change that the dear, old manifestation would be undergoing.
As is known, the ITF board next week should consider the possibility of a move of the great event for national teams, with the UAE as the final destination for the next five years. Gerard Piqué, the ideologue of the revolution, found remarkably detected by the economic bloodbath in the debut edition in 2019, and after the appreciated stop imposed by the pandemic would like to avoid forfeiting other presumed large debts. The process is similar in a sinister way to that which ended with the assignment of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar: few guarantees from the public to the real turnout but a mountain of money useful to heart those who do not seem to have a particularly popular conception of sport. Hewitt, already criticized several times over the last four years with the radical reform of the Cup, breaks the banks and has his say, choosing words that are discreetly distant from the concept of mediation. “Nobody asked me about it – begins -, I only heard a few rumors about it, but if that could happen it would be ridiculous, the Davis Cup would no longer exist“.
According to the Lleyton-thought, much of the fascination that the world cup for nations had built in over a hundred years of history has already died out, together with the incendiary atmosphere of an event that fed on the ferocious enthusiasm of the home crowd and the need for survive the bullfighting atmosphere in the most disparate trips. “Look for example at the beautiful, large, wonderful building we played in today“, Continues the Australian captain,”it wasn’t exactly full, we didn’t get great support. I think in the past a lot of magic was guaranteed by people, no matter we were in Australia or Hawaii. Being literally carried away by our audience when we played at home was magical, but it was also magical to play away, with everyone against it, because you had to find a way to come out of complicated situations by cementing the group. Sometimes Tony Roche and I tell the boys about old national adventures, and I’m sad for them, disappointed because they cannot live them. I think of Alex De Minaur, he would love to find himself in those situations. Davis represented the highest moment of our sport, with matches in five sets as only in the Grand Slams. They threw all this out the door, and now they want to destroy the door and the house. If they really moved everything to Abu Dhabi for five years it would be the end, a ridiculous thing, would definitely kill the competition“.
Naturally, given the turn taken by the situation, discordant and opposing bells have existed and do exist, sounded by those who believe that a change, Abu Dhabi or not, would have been unavoidable in any case. Novak Djokovic, recently expressed on the subject, stressed that the old version of the Cup was no longer sustainable, however, hoping for significant changes to the current one. The main one, according to the ATP number one, should concern the placement of the matches: one hypothesis would consist in double the number of host venues, in order to promote the sport of racket. The great proponents of the reform, moreover, used to fund their theses by tapping on a key they say sad: the old cup, scattered throughout the year in the four corners of the globe, it no longer attracted the big players. Even then, however, Lleyton Hewitt never noticed a real problem.
“The stars were playing the Davis Cup. Maybe Roger Federer has sometimes denied himself, but he too has done everything to put his name on the roll of honor, and he did it when he was the greatest player of all time. Novak Djokovic was there whenever it mattered to Serbia, and we know what Andy Murray went through to allow Britain to win. Sascha Zverev has always played, he came to challenge us in Brisbane and it meant something immense to him. Now there is also the ATP Cup: I would not like to appear biased because it is played in Australia, but all the best players took part in it and the audience frame has always been sensational. A great service not only for our country, but for our sport“.
As always, pure authoritative voices like Hewitt’s will be heard right, matters of such magnitude deciding on the upper floors, and this time it shouldn’t go. “Nobody asked me four years ago and I don’t see why they should do it now. Decisions are made by a player and the company that supports him, but I don’t think these people really know tennis and what it would help to get better. Boycott Davis in case he really moves to the Emirates? This never, every time we are given the opportunity to wear our jersey we will be at the forefront, and we will give everything“. Poor Lleyton, poor Davis. Hoping someone will turn on the light in the control room. Assuming the buttons and light bulbs have not already been sold.