top of page

THE STARK REALITY BEHIND AUSTRALIA'S DAVIS CUP FINAL



While Australia will be left to rue a second successive defeat in a Davis Cup Final after going down to an inspired Italy over the weekend, there is another harrowing result that most across the nation are forgetting.

It is the fact that the team will not play again until September next year.

That means that the country will have taken part in just six ties since 2022’s decider when the 2024 finals finally roll around.

While ensuring a place amongst the elite tennis nations is a luxury that the green and gold will hardly take for granted, the lack of Davis Cup exposure for the Australians in earlier months is something they are missing greatly.

Before the tournament’s change in 2019, the competition mostly had Lleyton Hewitt’s men playing a home or away tie in the immediate aftermath of the Australian Open, or prior to Indian Wells, helping keep tennis’ momentum going across the country.

It was always something to look forward to, watching our stars in front of an adoring home crowd or battling against their opponents abroad and a vicious reception from their own fans.

That was the essence of the Davis Cup.

Now, the 287-day wait seems like an eternity to view the Australians in action again as the country bids to make it a third time lucky and finally add to its 28 titles at the tournament.

It further enhances the argument that the tournament is dead and buried, which is hard to battle against given the lack of coverage across the continent.

Not to mention the monotony of it all, with the finals always played on an indoor hard court possessing the same aesthetics and lack of feel.

This year’s World Group I saw Greece take on Slovakia in an Athenian spectacle at the Panathenaic Stadium, which looked like a proper tie and what the tournament is all about.

The finals have come a long way since Australia brought in grass courts to Rod Laver Arena to take on Spain in the 2003 decider or France opting for indoor clay against Switzerland in 2014 in an faltering attempt to derail Roger Federer’s quest for Davis Cup glory.

It would be sensational to see Australia fronting up in February or March in one of these ties again, instead of biding their time and sampling what the rest of the planet has to offer when it comes to hosting.

Lleyton Hewitt seems to echo the sentiment, launching a scathing attack on the tournament’s format once again.

"Malaga has put on a great event, in terms of what they can do with the format that they've got, their hands are tied,” Hewitt said.

“There's no home-and-away and there's no [best of] five sets, so it's not ideal.

"We are playing on a surface that I'm really sick of playing on, to be honest. That's not what Davis Cup is about, it's playing on clay, grass, outdoor elements.

"It's obviously pretty frustrating, I think, that we don't get all the different surfaces and conditions throughout Davis Cup anymore, and especially in the big matches, as well."

He has a point, and should Australia make another deep run in 2024 it would be an even longer wait to possibly see the country’s combatants take centre stage on our own shores.

The nation last played a home tie against Hungary in March 2022, which guarantees at least a three-year wait by the time 2025 commences and that is only on the proviso that Australia falls early in next year’s finals and are lucky enough to be a host for its next tie.

Progressing to consecutive finals is a sensational effort, but in a way those gargantuan performances by Alex de Minaur and his teammates are leaving the status of this tournament null and void in Australia.

It’s a conundrum, and one that must be fixed soon. But we say that every year.

bottom of page