There was a time when a case could be made that tennis should not be an olympic sport, but it is not 1988 any longer. With the summer games having taken on a great deal of importance, is it time for Davis Cup and Federation Cup to loosen their scheduling demands?
A Modest Proposal – An Olympic Layoff
Davis Cup and Federation Cup could take olympic years off. These contests would still occur 3 out of 4 years, but a year off could do everyone some good.
A Bold Proposal – A Tennis World Cup
Davis and Federation Cup take place during odd numbered years. Olympic years would obviously hold olympic tennis. On non-olympic even numbered years, tennis could put on a World Cup type competition with teams being comprised of male and female players and each country fields two male singles players, two female singles players, male and female doubles teams, and a mixed doubles pairing for breaking any ties.
A Crazy Proposal – Turn Olympic Tennis into a Team Competition
This would be different from Davis and Federation Cup as it would take place across one to two weeks in one host location on one surface. This would need to be linked to a Davis Cup and Federation Cup hiatus for olympic years. If the ITF insisted upon an unbroken line of Davis and Federation Cup winners, the gold medal winning countries could also receive a Davis or Federation Cup title. This may satisfy the historical purists while also making olympic tennis more exciting and alleviating scheduling pressures.
Post Script – I Lack Answers but Think Change is Needed
Davis Cup and Federation Cup are part of a crowded tennis schedule. During olympic years, that schedule becomes quite a bit more difficult for players, for tournament organizers, and for fans in the sense that players are more likely to be hurt or burned out when over scheduled. Some sort of solution needs to emerge. Tennis has enough sharp minds to arrive at good options; the question is whether the will to implement such solutions exists.