Davis Cup war of words gets even nastier as ITF bigwig disrespects French tennis icon
ITF vice president Bernard Giudicelli has drawn fire for his remarks in response to criticism levelled at him by French player Nicolas Mahut over the Davis Cup.
Mahut feels that French tennis was betrayed by Giudicelli who is a former head of the French Tennis Federation.
Giudicelli was dismissive of any of the points put forward by Mahut and said that the 41-year-old was ‘ready for retirement.’
The ITF vice president told Tennis Actu: “It’s not a 41-year-old player who will explain to a 20- or 22-year-old player how things will have to work.”
He added: “Mahut is good for retirement and maybe if he becomes a journalist, it will give him the opportunity to make harsh criticisms, which he does quite well.”
Mahut believes that players have been betrayed and sold a lie with Kosmos walking away from a proposed 25-year $3 billion deal.
While the tournament format has been tweaked extensively some players, Mahut included feel that the tournament has been stripped of its essence and identity by the changes.
Mahut believes that the tournament isn’t really the Davis Cup anymore and points to a lack of interest and TV coverage in France as evidence.
He isn’t the only critic of the changes but his rant against the ITF drew a response which hasn’t covered the organisation in glory.
Mahut feels that ample warnings were issued to the powers that be regarding the threat of the death of Davis Cup tennis.
“We have lost four years of Davis Cup. We should never have allowed this experience. Perhaps they thought they were making a good decision, but they immediately saw that it was not working, that the idea of having a kind of World Cup could not work,” said Mahut.
“It’s a failure. It wasn’t even broadcast on the big channels in France. I’m very angry with [ITF president] Haggerty. He had the nasty idea to let us down, and now we can only wonder what will happen.’
“Also Bernard Giudicelli knows what I think of his decision as vice president of the ITF and president of the FFT. It is evident that he also bears a large part of the responsibility in this fiasco, and I see that he does not question himself. I don’t agree with his reasons that he acted responsibly for the good of tennis. No. His responsibility, as president of the French Federation, was to vote for the interests of the French Federation and its license holders.”
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