‘Abysmal’: Aussie tennis legend unloads
Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge has expressed his disappointment in the rehabilitated Davis Cup, labelling the 2019 competition "abysmal".
The revamped format was introduced in 2019, and received a mixed response after management was undertaken by Spanish football star Gerard Pique.
Despite the criticism, the Barcelona defender asserts that the 2019 Davis Cup has been an overwhelming success, and spectators should expect more tweaks to upcoming competitions.
"The competition is an absolute success," Pique told broadcasters Movistar.
Stream live coverage of the WTA and ATP Tours with ESPN and beIN SPORTS on KAYO. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly >
"The most important thing is that it has a soul … The players have reactions that they don't even have in the Grand Slams."
"I think this is the base and from there it will grow a lot. Things are going to be retouched, obviously. The issue of the schedules must be retouched. But that's what happens to events when the format is changed."
Potential changes for the 2020 competition include a move to the earlier timeslot of September, directly after the US Open.
Pique has also discussed the potential of a "super event", combining the Davis Cup and ATP Cup to create a larger two-week tournament.
"We are really open to sit down with the ATP and try to arrive to a deal, to make a unique competition, a super event of two weeks and try to find the best part in the calendar," Pique said.
"I think Novak (Djokovic) and Rafa (Nadal), the No. 1 and No. 2 in the world right now, have expressed that they want the same, they want just one event, and if it's possible, to put it in September for two weeks. Since day one, we expressed we want to arrive to this deal.
"It makes no sense to have right now two different competitions that are very similar."
However, Woodbridge slammed the new format on Sports Sunday, suggesting the competition's underlying issues originate from off the court.
"The tennis itself has been brilliant, the organisation has been abysmal," Woodbridge said.
"Everything from IT issues, to playing matches that finish at 4am, and then today the ITF go, 'Well we're going to put in more wildcards.'
"They've given wildcards this week, for 12 months' time. You've got to ask the question, how can you do that? It looks like they're guaranteeing Novak Djokovic a spot for next year … 'We want you back so we're going to guarantee you can be there, you don't have to play the qualifying match earlier in the year'.
"And then France have also been put in, so you've got to ask the question, the President of the ITF is also French and I'm sure he's had a big influence in that discussion. They've got so many things to fix if it's going to be a success next year.
"The biggest issue was crowd. We (Australia) played our first match with about 400 people watching, and that's a great disappointment."
48-year-old Woodbridge represented Australia during their successful 1999 and 2003 Davis Cup tournaments. The Olympic gold medallist also claimed 83 career doubles titles during his stellar career.
Current World No. 7 Alex Zverev also expressed disappointment in the new Davis Cup format, indicating that the historic significance of the competition is fading.
"I don't think the format is Davis Cup anymore," Zverev said.
"I think Davis Cup is the most historic event that we have in tennis, which is over 100 years old, and Davis Cup is the home-and-away ties.
"I hope people realise that Davis Cup is more than just money and all that like they are offering us now. It's history, and it's tennis history. It's more than just what's on the table for the players now."
Lead by World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, Spain defeated Canada in the Davis Cup final on Sunday, their first victory in eight years.