GTT contributor Van Sias isn’t surprised that the stars are coming out in force to play Fed Cup and Davis Cup this year, given that the Olympics are on the horizon. . .
Serves and Returns: Should Fed and Davis Cup Participation Be Tied to the Olympics?
By Van Sias
If you’re into international team competition and star-gazing, then you must be in heaven right now!
This past weekend’s Fed Cup action featured some of the biggest stars in the women’s game today: Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. (Click here for results.) And the first round of Davis Cup this weekend will see none other than Roger Federer lead Switzerland against the U.S.
It’s great to see such legends come forward and play for such prestigious titles. And if it’s tied to helping them get a crack at another prestigious title, why not?
You see, the four players above are hooking up with their national squads to maintain their eligibility for the Olympics this summer. It’s a prize that 99 percent of the pros who hope to make it to the Games are really eager for: There’s nothing like a Gold Medal to drape over your neck! And good for those players who are doing everything they can to get the opportunity to win one of sports’ biggest prizes.
But what happens after this year?
Neither of those four that were mentioned above have the most sterling track record when it comes to playing in their national team events. Will the buzz around Fed Cup or Davis Cup be as much when Sharapova or Federer aren’t out there?
And what about the players who are always out there when it comes to playing the ties at home or away? The U.S. Fed Cup team made back-to-back finals led by young American players. Most of those players, such as Alexa Glatch and Melanie Oudin, are struggling right now, but couldn’t they have mustered up enough game to beat the Belarus team this week that was missing Victoria Azarenka?
With all that said, here’s the “Serve”: Should Fed and Davis Cup participation be mandatory for Olympics play?
My Take: I have two words for that: no way. Plus, here’s a few more: It seems like the positive intentions are there, to make sure all international competitions benefit. But as I said above, what happens when Federer doesn’t play Davis Cup next year? Players like Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, recent Davis Cup retirees, have already secured their Olympic credentials with constant service over the years. But with them gone, Federer more than likely in ‘13, Novak Djokovic probably playing sporadically and Andy Murray not receiving enough help to get Great Britain in the World Group, the Davis Cup could be quite the star-less event next year. The same thing more than likely will happen in the Fed Cup, too. It’s like we’re being teased with what could be! It shouldn’t be a case of “enjoy it while you can,” not for such staples of the game.
And one more thing: Venus Williams should never, ever have to worry about making sure she satisfies requirements to play in the Summer Games—not with all the medals that she has.