London: Former world No. 1 Roger Federer has no qualms about taking in some additional team competitions on the ATP World Tour.
The ATP announced details of its brand-new ATP Cup late on Thursday and Federer insisted he is among a majority of the players backing such a team competition in international tennis.
“We haven’t seen the new Davis Cup yet [starting in 2019]. We haven’t seen a new World Team Cup [ATP Cup starting in 2020] yet, which used to exist in Dusseldorf, which now is in Australia. They just announced today [Thursday]. I think we have to wait and see how it is,” Federer told media after being asked about additional team competitions creeping onto the international tennis stage in recent times.
“Clearly if the World Team Cup is going to be held, players will want to play that first week of the year, so you would think it’s going to be exciting. The Davis Cup has incredibly rich history. You would think the players are going to play that. From that standpoint, I think there’s not that much change, per se, or more tournaments on the calendar. It just happens that there are more team events, which I think the players are happy about,” he added.
Despite most of the top players giving team competitions a definite yes, there have been mumblings from some on the longevity of the season resulting in burnout. “The good thing is we as players are not employed by a club. I can walk right now out of the door and go on vacation if I want to. Nobody is going to stop me. They won’t like it, but I can. That’s a massive privilege, I believe, a tennis player has,” he said.
“I think we’ve done a nice job from a player standpoint to understand it’s not something we do, out of respect to the fans, the tournament organisers, the sponsors and so forth, and also just for the integrity of the game,” Federer added.
The 37-year-old Swiss further added that the ATP Tour has the option of perhaps even getting rid of 20 tournaments each year. “But, I don’t know who wants that. Not those 20 tournaments. Not the 200 or 1,000 players on tour. The other option is as a team, player and team, to decide what are your priorities and how much a body can take, how much a mind can take, or how much travel someone can endure,” Federer observed.
“There’s two ways to look at it. One, it’s nice that there’s so many tournaments. When you get injured, not like skiing, you’re going to miss the entire season. The other way, it would be amazing to have five months to work on your game. You could really maximise the player you are, the potential you have. Obviously with the little time we have, there’s only so much you can do. Both are positive and negative. But the way the tour is structured right now, I just think you have to be very disciplined within the team to decide what’s best for that player, and the player needs to also give his opinion,” he added.