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The Roar

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How about a world cup of tennis?

Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis. (AFP PHOTO / JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD)
Roar Rookie
8th April, 2016
3

Hands up all Davis Cup fans. Look around and we are few and far between.

Yes, when played, it can generate some decent crowds and you might witness a small smattering of yellow from the Fanatics.

However, will it make the back page? Will it make the opening credits of Fox Sports or any other sports reports? Unless Nick Kyrgios or Bernard Tomic have a petulant fit, it will be a brief mention and glossed over pretty quickly.

However, in any of the other major tennis tournaments, there will be good coverage, plenty to discuss and a fair amount of interest.

You would also see a spike in the local tennis court usage, with the Australian Open coinciding with a line of players ready to emulate who they have just watched.

So there is definitely interest in tennis. The introduction of Fast 4 suggests that the people in power are concerned with participation and the audiences, and are trying to keep up with the other sports.

However, has the discussion of a World Cup of Tennis ever been touted? Soccer, cricket and rugby all celebrate this notion of a World Cup.

Creating a tournament every few years and putting the best teams against the best to see who is the best. Why not in tennis?

As mentioned, the Davis Cup is the ‘team’ component of tennis. However, asking around a group of tennis enthusiasts the question ‘who does Australia play next in the Davis Cup’ creates blank looks and even a question of when do they play next.

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For most sports, fans alike have a chance to get behind their country, this occurs in tennis, but on a scale that doesn’t allow for much passion to be injected.

Think about the following. Every three years or so, teams from around the world come together for a tournament where every singles/doubles games scores for their country.

It’s not the Olympic or Commonwealth games where only a few select stars participate, but a key date in the Tennis calendar that will attract the best players from each country.

Sure, scheduling will be difficult to place in an already jam packed calendar. But take away the Davis Cup which is irrelevant in the eyes of most tennis fans and place the World Cup somewhere in between the US Open in August/September and the Australian Open in January.

It could be held in Brisbane where temperature and weather won’t impact performance and could be used as a lead up to the Australian Open. If it’s only every couple of years, then players can work their schedule around the requirement.

By giving tennis a more identifiable ‘team’ game, not only will it assist in fans becoming more aligned to their country and supporting with more enthusiasm and interest, it will allow players to have an impact for their country while their nation is watching.

Like cricket, tennis needs a facelift and a boost to enable its fans to feel connected and to feel passionate towards their players.

The Australia Bureau of Statistics records that only five per cent of the Australian population (15 years and over) are participating in tennis. What would the statistics be during the Australian Open or perhaps a month long World Cup of tennis?

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