The latest Davis Cup tie between Australia and Slovakia will once again go down in history as a chance missed by Tennis Australia to show some faith in their players' ability on a neutral surface. Of course I am referring to the ridiculous decision to play the tie on a grass court against a nation who's singles players' own a combined ranking of no less than 250, ( Kovoliak 123, Martin 127 ).
These rankings of course are ridiculed by the top two Aussies who have a combined ranking of 36 with Kyrgios at 15 and Tomic sitting at 21.
So would the outcome have been any different if it were played on a hard court at the Rod Laver Arena ? You know that's the little stadium Tennis Australia put together to take Australian Tennis out of the dark ages of the Kooyong grass court facility which unfortunately for many years held this country back from the rest of the World.
Sure Wimbledon is played on grass but fair dinkum how many players are going to win Wimbledon ? There's hundreds of events on the tour calendar played on clay and hard courts that are going to develop a player's game and any player with any set of brains will train regularly on those mentioned surfaces.
Grass is a novelty and not one that is trained on regularly and sure many players dream of winning the big one at the All England Club. Most players however will realise that the French Open, the US Open and even the Australian Open are more realistic goals as they own surfaces that are played on all year round. So how often is grass played on ? Let's do the sums.
IT HAPPENS FOR ABOUT THREE WEEKS OF THE YEAR. A week prior to Wimbledon plus the two weeks during Wimbledon yet for some reason it is looked upon by Tennis Oz as the ONLY surface that Davis Cup ties in this country should be played on. Why ? Because the hierarchy are reluctant to move with the times here in the land of Oz and would much prefer to dream of 'the good old days' of Newcombe, Laver, Emerson and the likes who 'owned' Wimbledon and the Australian Open in the 60's and early 70's.
Move on Tennis Australia, the sport has changed, the styles have evolved and the training routines do not involve cutting, rolling and chalking grass tennis courts anymore because most tennis professionals now days only go to the net to shake hands. Serve and volleying is no longer in vogue unless your name is Roger and the great man has almost finished his brilliant career. I wonder how often even he practices on a grass court ?
Tennis Australia has a Davis Cup Captain by the name of Lleyton who unfortunately swears by a grass court surface and will also unfortunately back decisions indefinitely to play all Davis Cup ties here in Australia on grass. What that does is show the youth of the sport in this country that we do not practice what we preach and in fact confuses up and coming players who train on nothing but hard courts in Australia. Where is the logic ?
A hard court surface is one that gives no advantage to either player, it simply asks the better player to both out think and out hit their opponent, that's the beauty of a neutral court. Here in Australia we don't know how to think our way through a Davis Cup tie without reverting back to a surface that holds no significance whatsoever to budding young players keen to learn from the best.
Here in Australia we are still in the dark ages with our tennis and it's why even our best players fail to reach the latter stages of the big events on the World stage. It all stems from decisions made by certain people who should still be riding Penny Farthing bikes and wearing long white trousers when they play tennis with their wooden Dunlop tennis rackets.
Fair dinkum tennis in this country has a long way to go..........