Tennis greats Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have slammed team Canada’s decision to forfeit its dead rubber match against the USA as ‘not fair’ on other teams.
Canada kicked off the newly revamped Davis Cup competition in blistering fashion on Tuesday, as Vasek Pospisil beat Reilly Opelka and Denis Shapovalov defeated Taylor Fritz to give the Canadians their first-ever success over the US in 16 Davis Cup attempts.
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The victory earned them top spot in Group F with the 14th-ranked side having already beaten Italy 2-1 on Monday.
However Canadian captain Frank Dancevic then opted to concede the final doubles rubber, handing the US a 6-0, 6-0 walkover win after three of his players were declared unfit to play.
But with the two best runners-up from the six groups earning a spot in the quarter-finals based on the number of ties, sets and games won, the walkover could work in US team's favour.
The Davis Cup’s new format has already come under fire from many critics and the latest controversy did not sit well with greats of the game including Djokovic and Murray.
Djokovic was critical of the Canadian move and also the ITF's decision to award such a comprehensive scoreline given the rules of the competition.
"I personally don't like that," Djokovic said.
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"That shouldn't be allowed. I understand that Canada is through already.
"Maybe they wanted to rest their injured players for the quarter-finals and onwards?
"But I just feel it's not fair that the opposing team gets six-love, six-love because they are going actually head-to-head now against Italy.
"And then the winner is going to be second but then that six-love, six-love might make a big difference in the calculations for the second-best teams in the group. I don't think that's fair."
Murray shares Djokovic’s view
Djokovic's views were shared by fellow former world No.1 Andy Murray, who won on his return to Davis Cup for Great Britain after three years away.
The Canadians potentially play Australia in the quarter-finals, if Lleyton Hewitt's side win Group D with victory over Belgium Thursday morning (AEDT).
"I don't think that's good," Murray said.
"One of the positive things to the way the group stages work is that all of the matches are live, there isn't any dead rubbers.
"So where Canada may have felt that was a dead rubber in theory for them because they were already through, that could have implications to all of the teams potentially that might finish in second place."