Jim Courier ways to improve the Davis Cup, Sharapova has shot at French

Jim Courier, the captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team continues to have high hopes for how the tournament could be improved and become a pseudo fifth major. Courier spoke again about wanting it to be become a two-week event,

“The first week you could have the event in multiple venues and come together for the final week like an NCAA tournament, or it could be just one venue like a US Open style event.”

Optimism for Courier comes from the President of the International Tennis Federation David Haggerty,

“There is new sheriff in town in Dave Haggerty who is a progressive and will try to overcome the politics and move the event forward. You see how much money the big events are making. This could be a very special event for tennis.”

Courier, who is still playing in the PowerShares Series, had fond memories of his Davis Cup days on the court,

“It is nice to play for the team, to play for the country and to have the support. You also develop a bond with your team and those are some of my greatest memories.”

What seems to excite Courier the most about changing the way Davis Cup is played is the fan experience and the amount of people who could be drawn to come see the game,

“This is more like seeing a college basketball game where people are cheering double faults, singing songs. When I look at it as a business person in tennis, its the biggest missed opportunity in business we have.”

As for the game itself outside of the Davis Cup, Courier sees a lot of positives,

“I think tennis is extremely healthy at the high end levels. Tournaments are generating revenues that have never been seen before. TV ratings are down since we have so many choices like other sports. Smaller events are struggling to get people to come out, but the big events have never been better.”

Another lightning rod topic in tennis these days is getting rid of best of five matches and just having best of threes. Martina Navratilova has been an outspoken proponent for the change. Courier is old school, but seems at least somewhat open to change,

“I think we have to be cognizant of what the fans want, but myself, I like best of five. I think it is a truer test, but the game is getting much more physical. If change does come, I hope the players are driving it saying it is no longer tenable for us to play best of five.”

If you are in Chicago, you can see Courier on the court May 17 at the UIC Pavilion in the PowerShares Series alongside John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Mark Philippoussis. http://www.powersharesseries.com/
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