Aussie captain calls ITF irresponsible over Cup ban
SYDNEY: The International Tennis Federation has been irresponsible in suspending Australia for forfeiting its Davis Cup tie in India, team captain John Fitzgerald said Friday.
The ITF said it would consider sanctions against Australia after the team announced they would boycott the Asia-Oceania Zone Group I third-round tie scheduled in Chennai on May 8-10 over security concerns.
Under the competition regulations the ITF has the power to suspend Australia, the second most-successful Davis Cup nation behind the United States, for a year.
Fitzgerald said he was still fuming over what he calls a decision "made with selective information".
"We're incredibly disappointed and I think there was a lot of irresponsibility from the ITF in this," he told Australian Associated Press.
"It worries me that some of these decisions are made with selective information ... when there were elections and when the Indian government couldn't guarantee the safety of the IPL (Indian Premier League cricket) players." Fitzgerald praised Tennis Australia for their stance in seeking a venue switch.
"In this situation TA really did a great job. They went out of their way, they did a lot of homework from all sorts of different angles and realised that there was a risk there and the risk was too much to send young people," he said.
"I don't believe the ITF really listened. It's pretty simple to play on a neutral venue." Fitzgerald said the ITF should have paid Australia more respect as 28-times Cup champions.
"Davis Cup is so important to Australia and our record and commitment speaks for itself," he said.
"So if one time we believe that we don't want to send our players to a place that has risk, it would be logical to me that the powers-that-be would take that reasonably seriously and really look into it deeply." The skipper of nine years is also upset that Australia's 2010 fate remains in the ITF's hands.
"To have the same group that don't have to be accountable enough make that decision that we can't play and then have that same group also impose the penalty, it all seems a bit silly to me," he said.
Fitzgerald said the whole affair has left him feeling bitter and he conceded he needed time to weigh up his future.
"It's dampened my enthusiasm for the governing body but it certainly hasn't dampened my enthusiasm for the great competition that the Davis Cup is," he said.