'New low': Aussie tennis legend seethes over $4.2 billion 'disgrace'

Todd Woodbridge, pictured here speaking to the media at the Australian Open Official Launch in 2019.
Todd Woodbridge speaks to the media at the Australian Open Official Launch in 2019. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Aussie tennis legend Todd Woodbridge has once again taken aim at Davis Cup organisers over a "new low" that he's described as an "utter disgrace", sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Woodbridge has taken aim at the International Tennis Federation over a decision to award Canada a wildcard entry back into the 2022 Davis Cup competition after Russia was kicked out due to the war in Ukraine.

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Officials on Thursday announced that the group stage of the 2022 Davis Cup Finals would take place in Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Malaga in September.

Sixteen nations will compete in groups based in each of the four cities, comprising the 12 winning teams from the qualifiers plus Croatia - who get an automatic place as last year's finalists, as well as wildcards Serbia and Great Britain.

Russia will not be able to defend their title after the ITF suspended the memberships of Russia and Belarus and withdrew their entries from team competitions following the invasion of Ukraine.

The ITF said the replacement wildcard spot had been awarded to Canada despite them losing 4-0 to The Netherlands in qualifiers earlier this month.

"What an utter disgrace @ITFTennis and @DavisCup," Woodbridge tweeted on Thursday night about the decision.

"Canada has lost this year, but given a second chance wildcard!

"This is a new low for our sport. Just can't fathom how far this great competition has sunk."

Woodbridge possesses the record for most doubles wins in Davis Cup history.

He also held the record for most ties played for Australia until being surpassed by current captain and fellow two-time Davis Cup winner Lleyton Hewitt, who has led his side into this year's Finals.

Vladimir Putin, pictured here after his invasion of Ukraine.
Russia has been kicked out of the Davis Cup Finals because of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Todd Woodbridge calls on Davis Cup organisers to resign

Woodbridge has previously called for Davis Cup organisers to resign over a reported multi-million dollar deal to move the traditional event to the UAE.

Much of the history and prestige of the Davis Cup has been stripped away in recent years after it was purchased by Kosmos Tennis - a company run by Spanish soccer star Gerard Pique.

Kosmos partnered with the International Tennis Federation for 25 years back in 2018 in a deal worth a reported $4.2 billion.

Kosmos has since revamped the event and completely changed the format from home-and-away ties throughout the year.

Woodbridge was left seething late last year over reports the Davis Cup Finals would be played in Abu Dhabi in December.

“What player in their right mind is going to go to Abu Dhabi and give themselves two weeks off before starting the new season?” Woodbridge said on 2GB radio.

Todd Woodbridge, pictured here at the official draw for of the 2022 Davis Cup qualifier between Australia and Hungary.
Todd Woodbridge presents the official draw ahead of the 2022 Davis Cup qualifier between Australia and Hungary. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“There will be no off-season, there will be no time to prepare.

“The people that are making these decisions really need to take a look at themselves, because this event, I think, won’t be with us in five years’ time.

“Should (the ITF administrators) still be there? That’s the question.

“I think that if you’ve wrecked the most historic competition in the game you probably have to resign and move on.”

The draw for the group stage, which will be played from September 14-18, is scheduled to be held in London on March 31.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout stage, which will serve as the season-ending event on the men's tennis calendar from November 23-27 in a fifth host city.

with AAP

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