Now it's my Turn
October 01, 2012 | 03:06 AM
Now its my turn...
I have been watching some golf lately.....especially the Ryder Cup competition.
Now I do not play golf....well....golf as defined by anyone who can hit the ball where they want it to go 3 times out of every 10. I enjoy the walk, the company, the opportunity to commune with nature.....I just am continuously embarrassed that my golf ball never goes in the direction or distance that I want it to....but enough of that....
I have been watching the Ryder Cup and began to wonder, subconsciously, how golf can attract so many spectators to an event held every two years....and tennis (Davis Cup) can attract so few spectators on television or in person when it is held every year.....
Now this is not a debate....I know the ITF protests that the USA is the only country where the crowds are not overflowing and there are constant clarion calls for changing the format. Recent Ties seem to contradict that thinking. More and more it appears the Davis Cup Ties have lost something and something needs to be done to breath new life into the format.
I watched the USA vs Spain this year, and even for the final Rubbers, the crowds were not overwhelming. Even Spain can not fill the seats.
I was in Seville in 2004 and with a few hundred USA partisans watching as 24,000+ Spaniards cheered their team to victory.
I was there in Portland in 2007 when the USA defeated Russia to claim the cup with thousands crowding Memorial Coliseum.
I have seen full stadiums...and grandstands that are 25% empty. I have been to victories, great victories and defeats....I will continue to go to Ties....
Lately, more often than in the past, the number of empty seats have increased from a few here and there to sparsely filled rows and sections.
It may be the price of the ticket, the timing of the Ties, the demands of the ATP and Grand Slam Calendar, or the frequency of the Ties, I cannot say....I just do not know.
I do know that it is important to the players, fans and the sport to save the Davis Cup. Tradition is important and must be paid heed. But tradition cannot be a barrier to recognizing there is a problem and something needs to change.
Fresh eyes and ideas are needed to examine the problems and suggest changes to scheduling, format, competition in order to restore the power of David Cup Competition.
Maybe we can learn something from the Ryder Cup. A week-long Davis Cup tournament held every other year, with the top 16, 32, or ? national teams. A complete format and scheduling change to offer every nation an opportunity to qualify for the the biennial competition.
I do not pretend to know what would work best.....there are certainly a great many minds who know and love tennis that are far better equipped to ferret out the answers. It would take some work, some creativity, some ingenuity, but I am convinced there is the talent in the international tennis community to develop new ideas.
What I know is, great as Davis Cup was, it is no longer.
I for one believe it should be saved...or it will continue to lose its luster...fans....and players...and attendees at Cup Ties.
Let me know your thoughts, suggestions...