Sad state of Davis Cup fully exposed

Roger Federer will not be playing for Switzerland
Roger Federer will not be playing for Switzerland

THE teams are in and, at first glance, the revamped Davis Cup competition appears to be suffering from the same malady it was supposedly design to cure - lack of star power.

Those behind the death of a cherished, traditional competition argued the continued absence of the biggest names in tennis was proof change was needed.

If the move to abbreviated contests - best of three-set rubbers instead of five-set bouts - was supposed to lure the sport's luminaries back, David Haggerty and his partners at Kosmos have been quickly disabused of the notion.

Serbia will play Uzbekistan in Tashkent next month without world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

Switzerland will host Russia without Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.

Japan will be without Kei Nishikori against China in Guangzhou, while Milos Raonic won't make the trip to Bratislava to face Slovakia.

David Goffin, the world No.20, will stay at home as Belgium travels to Brazil and Italy will be without firebrand Fabio Fognini for the tie against India in Calcutta.

Milos Raonic will not be playing with Canada
Milos Raonic will not be playing with Canada

With six teams already qualified for the November finals in Madrid, several other high-profile players will be absent in the first phase of the new competition.

Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic are among the group with the weekend off during the February 1-2 qualifiers.

Australia will host Bosnia and Herzegovina in Adelaide.

As expected, Lleyton Hewitt plumped for Alex de Minaur, John Millman, John Peers, Alexei Popyrin and Jordan Thompson.

The highest-ranked players to commit to the qualifying round are Germany's world No.4 Alexander Zverev and Austria's world No.8 Dominic Thiem.

The glitterati void aside, a noticeable - and more positive - trend has emerged with the proliferation of emerging talent.

De Minaur and Popyrin sit in that space.

And so does Konstantin Zhzhenov, who has been named by Russia at the age of 14 years, nine months and 21 days.

Dubbed "The Iceborg" for his on-court demeanour, Zhzhenov last year won the European 14-and-under title.

News Corp Australia


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