It was never going to be a decision that would make every player happy, but now the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has incurred the wrath of world Number 3 – Roger Federer – over its decision to change the 2016 Olympic qualifying criteria.
The current Olympic qualifying rules require players to be available and willing to play either a Davis Cup or a Fed Cup tie twice in an Olympic cycle. However, under the new rules and to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, player will be required to play in 4 ties during a cycle.
Currently the ATP Player Council president, Federer was reported to be “furious” when the ITF president, Francesco Ricci Bitti informed him of the decision. He also reported to the press that no players were consulted at any stage of the decision making process, telling The Times:
“I disagree with this completely….I was in the room (in Miami) when the ITF presented this to us, I was not asked about it before the decision was made. They might as well have just sent us a letter”
Although he will be approaching his 35th birthday when the 2016 Olympics commence he does expect to be involved in the event, and simply isn’t happy about the amount of Davis Cup tennis he will be required to play in order to do so. His main concern is that he feels the ITF is forcing players to commit to tournaments that they may otherwise be unable to play, and the emphasis on playing Davis Cup tennis makes it seem as though it “is the only place in tennis where you represent your country….and that is not a good vibe.”
Continuing with his interview, Roger genuinely does seem upset about the change to the qualifying rules and is even unwilling to confirm whether he will abide by them or not stating “I will have to see what happens. I am focused on this year and I will make sure that whatever schedule I have for next year best suits me.”