Former Australian player slams Novak Djokovic for his ‘contradictory’ views following Davis Cup comments

Davis Cup trophy

Former Australian player Sam Groth has criticised Novak Djokovic for suggesting that tennis needs to “find new ways to improve” the Davis Cup, saying his comments are “contradictory”.

The International Tennis Federation is set to confirm a new host venue for the finals for the next five years with media reports claiming the tournament will be staged in Abu Dhabi over a 14-day period.

The latest move comes three years after the ITF opted to restructure the team competition with the Kosmos investment group paying $3bn over a 25-year period to organise the event.

However, the proposed switch to the Middle East has not gone down well with former world No 1 and current Australia Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt describing it as “ridiculous”.

Novak Djokovic gives his verdict on what should happen next with the Davis Cup

Reigning world No 1 Djokovic was asked for his views and replied “some people think we should stick to what the Davis Cup as a competition or as a format was before.

“I’m somewhere in between. I think you need to respect the tradition and the history, and you need to stick to the things that are recognisable that make this competition so important for the sport. At the same time you need to move forward and find new ways to improve the competition.”

Groth, though, lambasted Djokovic for being happy with the proposal to expand the Davis Cup, but at the same time asking for the tennis season to be shortened.

“I can tell you the sort of players who are going to show up to a 14-day event in Abu Dhabi, it is the ones that are currently defending the event that I’m sure are having some payment on the backside to support what is now called the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals,” he told Wide World of Sports.

“This is not the Davis Cup but the players who are going to turn up are exactly like Novak Djokovic, in my opinion, who spoke up obviously rebutting Lleyton’s comments about the tournament needing a change, it needs to be adjusted and needs to be played in different cities and then the finals in one city.

“I don’t have facts on this but I believe there is something going on with this group (Kosmos) is spending a lot of money and they have big financial backers in Abu Dhabi. Also for a guy who wants less tournaments throughout the year, a shorter season and to support something that goes into mid-December it is very contradictory.”