Patrick McEnroe has revealed that the United States Tennis Association’s desire to exert power over players, and a subsequent backlash, could have resulted in Andy Roddick’s decision not to play Davis Cup this year.
McEnroe’s revelations come in his new book “Hardcourt Confidential: Tales From Twenty Five Years In the Pro Tennis Trenches” that the United States Davis Cup captain of the last ten years co-wrote with the veteran American tennis journalist Peter Bodo.
Until this year Roddick’s service in the cause of his country had been exemplary since making his debut against Switzerland when aged just 18 back in 2001. He had played in 23 ties, scoring 31 singles victories from his 42 rubbers, a record that leaves him second all time in US Davis Cup history to McEnroe’s esteemed elder brother John.
In January Roddick announced he would not be available for Davis Cup selection this year as he sought to overcome injury problems that saw him miss the year ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London and make a more concerted effort at the Grand Slam titles after performing so admirably to finish runner up to Roger Federer in an epic Wimbledon final.
However McEnroe writes that by the end of 2009, Roddick “was growing a little tired of the extraneous demands of Davis Cup.”
The causes were not on-court issues and the demands of playing. Rather economic issues and budgetary restraints on the team that a little over two years earlier had won the cup for the United States for the first time in 12 years.
“He was pissed by the way the USTA started nitpicking the players’ phone bills, or insisting that Mike Bryan’s girlfriend take a cab and pay her own way to the airport when she had to leave a tie a day early,” writes McEnroe, whose Davis Cup deal is due to expire next year.
“It was petty stuff, easily averted, and a transparent attempt by the USTA to show who’s in charge. But the reality is that the USTA has to be careful not to alienate the top players.”
In September the United States team, presumably still without the services of Roddick, will play to preserve World Group status for the first time since 2005. With both Roddick and James Blake opting not to play in February and Mike Bryan ruled out by illness, McEnroe was forced to rely on youngsters John Isner and Sam Querrey with the team losing 3-2 to Serbia on indoor clay in Belgrade.
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