ITF boss hints 2012 Davis Cup final could be moved forward

Sunday, December 5, 2010

BELGRADE - The Davis Cup final could be brought forward from its usual early December date as a result of the Association of Tennis Professional’s decision to shorten the men’s season by a fortnight, International Tennis Federation (ITF) boss Francesco Ricci Bitti said Sunday on the final day of the Serbia-France tie.

The Italian, while not going into specifics, dropped the hint that future schedules could change as a result of the ATP move which will end that season in the middle instead of late November.

“Obviously we don’t want to play Davis Cup (too) far away from the season,” said the administrator. “But no decision has been taken. The Davis Cup Committee and the board of the ITF is considering the situation.

“Surely an announcement will be done as soon as decided. But obviously we are studying how to close the gap between the present date and the new date of the circuit.”

Ricci Bitti said his organisation remained unworried by a long tennis calendar. “The real problem in tennis is the player commitment, the balance between the player commitment and the tournaments that the players are required to play.”

Ricci Bitti added: “The length of the season, I think, could be even longer. I don’t think this is a real problem. The key problem is always the balance between player commitment and tournament requirement.”

Despite the fact that Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray - three of the top four in the world - did not play Davis Cup in 2010, Ricci Bitti refused to make an issue of the absences.

“The calendar of tennis is very heavy, we’re happy in general with the participation. We should not forget the Davis Cup is not any requirement, it is a free participation, totally free.

“Davis Cup is strong, even if we can miss one or two players sometimes. It’s less vulnerable than many tournaments. And if you compare all the tournaments, individual tournaments, with Davis Cup, we are very well off.”

The administrator also sidestepped the issue of expansion at the crowded France Open site in Paris, with local officials pondering whether to stay at Roland Garros and try to expand or head for a new venue in the suburbs.

The decision will be taken in a vote by the French federation in February. “I understand the French authorities, that they would like badly to improve the situation on site,” said Ricci Bitti. “But it’s very difficult.

“I have a lot of support for what they do now. But the decision has not been taken. It’s only preparatory work.”

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