Monday, April 25, 2011

Spain's "unfair" objection rightly rejected

I had to laugh when I read that Rafael Nadal supported his country Spain’s protest of the United States’ choice of Indoor Hard Premiere for the surface of the Davis Cup tie between the countries this July in Austin.  Isn’t turnabout fair play?

Naturally, like all countries that host Davis Cup ties, the U.S. wants to give their home team every advantage possible to win the matches, and a fast surface favors the Americans over the Spaniards.  Of course, when Spain has hosted our team in the Davis Cup over the past several years, the matches have been played in bullrings on clay which, even though they’re indoors, were copiously watered down to make their surfaces as slow as possible to favor the grinding style of its teams.  Since then, Spain’s star, the number one player in the world Mr. Nadal, has lost only one (non-Davis Cup) match on the red dirt.  Now that the United States is the host, shouldn’t ‘we’ be able to pick Nadal’s least favorite surface, one that gives the impatient U.S. team’s players the best chance to win?

Spain’s protest was lodged to try to induce the International Tennis Federation to consider a technicality – that the specific surface wasn’t on a list of approved surfaces that the ITF puts out, even though the U.S. claims to have hosted 5 Davis Cup and 2 Fed Cup ties on it since 2007.  That Nadal felt it necessary to "weigh in" on the dispute diminishes his stature somewhat, if only to the smallest of degrees.  The swift resolution and decision by the ITF to reject Spain’s appeal – within two days – illustrated the frivolity of the objection.

One has to wonder why a country would lodge such a complaint, and why Nadal would risk tarnishing his reputation, given its record of using an advantageous surface for their own teams.

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