Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tennis Davis Cup - Home and away advantage

I would like to know what everybody thinks about the assignment of the 'home and away' status given to teams prior to a Davis Cup tie. As I understand it alternates between a pairing based on their last meeting, which could be years apart, with the designated home team getting to choose both the venue and the surface.

Potentially then, a team could go through an entire season being the home team, and always have this advantage. This may be a rare occasion, but even getting it more than any other team in your group could be deemed unfair. Especially seeing as the final always employs these rules.

I am not quite sure how one could solve this problem, given that holding a tie in a neutral venue would be almost pointless, and trying to enforce a neutral surface would be near impossible.

Here are some of my ideas:

1) The home and away status applies, but it specifies that the first two singles rubbers and the doubles are played at home and the reverse singles are played away. The surface choice is made for home and away. This has obvious downfalls, but may still be viable if organized properly. Dead reverse rubbers would be almost ignored.

2) the home and away rule stays, except that the surface choice is done by having the two teams submit a request, and the ITF then chooses a surface that niether team chose. (ie: Spain picks clay, Czech Republic picks Hard, so ITF chooses grass). this would bring in some extra mind games for the captains

3) The Davis Cup is an ITF event, so why not use ITF stadia. the home and away rule applies for the surface, but a choice of clay means going to Rolland Garros, a choice of Grass means going to Wimbledon (err in december yikes!), and a choice of Hard means going to randomly US Open or Australia (if US is in match, then OZ, and vica versa)...huge travelling commitment so maybe not a good idea, but if Davis Cup final is worth it then people should make the trip.

4) The choice of country is randomly picked between the two sides, and the surface is chosen by the away team.

Please share thoughts

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