Australian Davis Cup great Todd Woodbridge has slammed the ITF, accusing the governing body for sinking tennis to a “new low” with yet another controversial call.
Woodbridge is livid with the International Tennis Federation’s decision to award Canada a wildcard entry back into the 2022 Davis Cup competition despite being hammered 4-0 by The Netherlands in this month’s qualifiers.
“What an utter disgrace @ITFTennis and @DavisCup,” Woodbridge tweeted.
“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.”
For all Australia’s rich heritage in Davis Cup, Woodbridge possesses the record for most doubles wins in the competition.
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.
Both Woodbridge and Hewitt have been vocal opponents of the overhaul of the competition’s format.
Officials on Thursday announced 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, much to the chagrin of Woodbridge.
The Canadians’ defeat in the qualifiers against the Dutch came as they fielded a team without their biggest stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov.
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.