I was in Malaysia for two days for the ITF World Junior Tennis Asia Pacific qualifying and I had the chance to meet up with the Malaysian Davis Cup team in Kuala Lumpur who were practising with their Davis Cup captain, Suresh Menon, as they prepare to represent their country in the ITF’s flagship team event.
What I have learned in my 25+ years in international tennis is to try to look at the bigger picture and how many things in tennis are linked and affect one another. For example, participation eventually impacts on commercial and income generation at the highest level events. Similarly changes in the ITF World Tennis Tour have impacted other related areas and here is another example.
Because players on the Malaysian team do not have ATP rankings or current top 100 Junior ITF rankings, they cannot get into any events to get match practice prior to the Group 3 in June. All they can do is play practice matches. One of the players was recently a top 40 ITF junior and has proven he is talented.
It illustrates again that the ITF has not thought through all of the negative implications especially the impact on the best players from the smaller, less developed ITF member tennis nations, who are playing in the Davis and Fed Cup for their respective nations.
Very sad situation for tennis.