Rafael Nadal has hinted at growing dissatisfaction among players over the Davis Cup schedule, after the final match of Spain’s clash with Russia didn’t begin until well past midnight.
The world no.1 and the Spanish team claimed a 2-1 win over their Russian rivals, but the obscenely late start time of 12:45am for the final rubber was something Nadal took issue with.
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The 2019 French and US Open champion said he would have a firmer opinion on the matter once the Davis Cup was over, but that playing games so late was a poor outcome for both players and fans.
“Let me wait until the tournament is over to have a clear and better opinion,” Nadal said when asked about the new tournament structure.
“The only negative in my opinion is we are just starting the last match and it’s 12.45am.
“That means big trouble for us the players and also for the people who have come to the stadium too, because tomorrow is a workday. It makes everything difficult.”
Fans less than impressed with poor scheduling
David Cup organisers have already started copping backlash online, with some writing off the scheduling as ‘amateurish’.
Others said the late matches were not only poor for fans at the venue, but had also thrown out the scheduled matches on TV.
There may be a few issues with the Davis Cup, but nothing compares to its scheduling.
Belgium-Australia yet to start and it is 7:15pm local time. Then one of those teams will play Canada, who hasn't played at all today, in like 18 hours time at roughly 6pm tomorrow!
— Adam_Addicott (@tennisbanter) November 20, 2019
1:30am in Madrid. Spain and Russia contesting the second set of a deciding doubles rubber. Ludicrous. #DavisCupFinals
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) November 20, 2019
It’s really scandalous tbh. Davis cup is supposed to attract new audiences and inspire children to take up the sport. A thrilling final rubber finishes at 2am local time (4am Moscow time) on a Tuesday night in the middle of November! Scheduling and format is amateurish. 🙈
— Pavvy G (@pavyg) November 20, 2019
Djokovic and Murray playing at the same time. Amazing scheduling. #DavisCup
— Panther (@Panther24Tweets) November 20, 2019
Nadal’s singles win over Karen Kachanov was the decisive moment in Spain’s victory, but the doubles match needed to decide the winner didn’t finish until the early hours of the morning.
Elsewhere, Australia defeated Columbia and Canada toppled the United States.
Kyrgios and De Minaur break 28-year Belgium hoodoo
Alex de Minaur has reinforced his reputation as one of the most exciting young players in world tennis, seeing off Belgium's David Goffin to book Australia's spot in the Davis Cup quarter-finals.
The 20-year-old Sydneysider beat the world No.11, 6-0 7-6 (8-6) to seal Australia's first victory over Belgium since 1991 and finish top of Group D, setting up a clash with a talented Canada side on Friday (0400 AEDT).
De Minaur won the first set in 26 minutes as Goffin struggled to find an answer to the red-hot Australian's powerful return game.
The Belgian No.1 finally got on the board in the opening game of the second set, but de Minaur continued to have success from the back of the court.
The world No.18 broke again at 3-1 but Goffin, with his back firmly against the wall, broke for the first time at 5-3 when de Minaur was serving for the match.
De Minaur then saved a set point and forced the tiebreaker which he closed out to seal his 40th victory of the season.
It continues his brilliant 2019 in which he has won three ATP titles to rocket up the rankings.
Earlier, Nick Kyrgios put Australia 1-0 up, beating the gutsy Steve Darcis 6-2 7-6 (10-8).