Melbourne - Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori said the Davis Cup
badly needed an overhaul on Monday as concerns grow over its ability to attract
Top-ranked Murray said talks were underway in the ATP Player
Council to make the event more attractive, with its format and scheduling both
in the firing line.
Nishikori said he was skipping Japan's upcoming Davis Cup
tie, even though it is in Tokyo, because he already has a packed playing
"Everyone seems to be in agreement that the format needs
to change," said Murray, who led Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015.
"I do think it needs to change. If the top players
aren't playing, the event loses value," he added.
Murray said there was clear opposition to the idea of
holding the final at a neutral venue, but that little else had been agreed.
Other suggestions include reducing matches from five sets to
three and playing ties on Saturday and Sunday only, rather than Friday,
Saturday and Sunday.
"We chatted about a lot of different changes. The one
thing that we all agreed upon was that the neutral venue is not right,"
Ties for the Davis Cup, billed as the 'World Cup of tennis',
are spread across the year and teams that reach the final will have played four
weekends at venues around the world.
"I hope they can make some changes. Yeah, right now I
think it's way too much to play three times or even if you play final, maybe
four times," Nishikori said.
"I think that has to change, for sure, to make it
shorter. I think all the players - I don't know if all, but I think most of
them are hoping to change."
Nishikori has pulled out of Japan's Davis Cup tie against
France in Tokyo the week after the Australian Open, blaming the scheduling of
the teams event.
"I'm not playing because of the schedule, it's gonna be
too tight," Nishikori said.
"Going to South America, Rio and Buenos Aires, and if I
play Davis Cup, that's way too much for my body and Indian Wells and Miami
(tournaments) are coming up after. So I just decided not to play."