Italy captain Barazzutti slams new Davis Cup format

The Davis Cup has undergone some drastic changes this year with World Group Finals taking place at a single venue and matches being decided in three sets.

Published : Jan 28, 2019 17:45 IST , Kolkata

Italy's non-playing Corrado Barazzutti during Italy's Davis Cup World group first round tie against Japan.
Italy's non-playing Corrado Barazzutti during Italy's Davis Cup World group first round tie against Japan.

Italy's non-playing Corrado Barazzutti during Italy's Davis Cup World group first round tie against Japan.

As the Italians held their first practice session ahead of their Davis Cup World Group qualifier tie against India, non-playing captain Corrado Barazzutti felt professional circuit rankings matter little when it comes to playing for the country.

“In Davis Cup, good rankings give you confidence but one has to play to win. Many times, the rankings determine who plays first and who plays second. We have to play the matches and on the court everything changes. There are players in Davis Cup who play better in tournament,” Barazzutti, who featured in Italy’s 1976 Davis Cup triumph as a player, said.

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The Italian team lead by the World No. 19 Marco Cecchinato had an extended session of practice at the venue - Calcutta South Club – on Monday.

Italy's Marco Cecchinato (L) and Simone Bolelli during a training session on Monday.

Cecchinato, along with Andreas Seppi (37), Matteo Berrettini (53), Thomas Fabbiano (85) and Simone Bolelli (138), worked on getting used to the grass-courts where they will face the host to book a spot in the Davis Cup finals.

“Most of the players play in some tournaments (on grass) before Wimbledon, maybe one tournament after Wimbledon. Nobody played much on grass. Even the Indian players (have not played on grass),” the 65-year-old said with a shrug.

The Italians are seeded fifth in the order announced by Davis Cup but Barazzutti preferred to treat the unseeded Indians with respect. “They are a good team because they have good players and they are playing at home on their preferred surface, which is grass. We have to play with focus and have to apply ourselves hard. I think it will be a tough tie,” Barazzutti said adding that the “underdogs” tag used on the host was misplaced.

RELATED| India's positive results on grass an advantage, says Bhupathi

Talking about the change in the Davis Cup format, Barazzutti said he preferred the old best-of-five set format as it offered a better competition.

The Italians engage in a warm-up session at the Calcutta South Club on Monday.

“I played and won the Davis Cup for my country and I think the tournament was much better in the past playing the best-of-five format,” he said.

“Changing this format is like changing the Slam events. You put a Slam in a best-of-three format and you play one week only. You think it is the same? Everything is getting fast, and then there is money too. But I don’t think the best players play for money. I don't think (Roger) Federer plays Wimbledon, (Rafael) Nadal plays Roland Garros and (Novak) Djokovic plays Flushing Meadows for the money,” he added.

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