Lleyton Hewitt demands that heads roll as tennis bosses have ‘really screwed the Davis Cup up’

Shahida Jacobs
Lleyton Hewitt press conference
Lleyton Hewitt talks to the media

Lleyton Hewitt has slammed tennis’ powers that be following the Davis Cup’s “four-year disaster”, saying “we’ve gotta get rid of people at the top”.

The Hewitt-led Australia team booked their place in the Davis Cup Finals quarter-finals that will be staged in Malaga, Spain, in November after they finished second behind Great Britain in Group B.

The tournament’s group phase was held the past week at four different European venues namely Bologna, Manchester, Split and Valencia, but most of the stadiums were empty with many feeling it is the result of the decision to change the Davis Cup format.

The team competition underwent a major restructure in 2019 on the back of the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) $3 billion, 25-year partnership with the Kosmos group. Instead of the traditional home-and-away ties, the top teams now play group matches at different cities with the Finals staged at one venue.

But most players, fans and commentators were against the changes from the start and the Kosmos deal collapsed earlier this year, leaving many dismayed with the chaos the resulting chaos.

Over the weekend, three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka took aim at the ITF as he accused them of “paying people to support and make some noise for every country at every match”.

Hewitt, who from day one voiced his unhappiness over the new format, lashed out after Australia’s campaign in Manchester.

“I’ve said for years the two greatest things that Davis Cup had was the best-of-five sets, because it was the pinnacle of our sport, and the home and away format,” the former world No 1 said.

“Playing in front of 500 or 1000 people, it’s not the same. But as I’ve told my team all the time, the pride comes in wearing the green and gold, so for us no matter what the format is, we’re still gonna go out there and leave it all on the line.

“But do I agree this format is good? No, not for a minute. We’ve gotta get rid of people at the top… we’ve seen what’s happened, it was meant to be a 25-year thing and it’s turned into a four-year disaster.

“So until changes are made, we’re gonna sit back and go through exactly the same stuff every year.

“I can say until the cows come home, but they’ve really screwed it up.”