Australian Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter hits roof over ITF $10,000 fine
AUSTRALIA'S Davis Cup team has been fined $10,000 after boycotting an official dinner in Uzbekistan in protest against "grotty, uncomfortable and unreasonable" conditions.
Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter said he had sent a string of strongly worded messages to the International Tennis Federation as frustrations grew in the Australian team.
He said the team hotel had sewage backing up through pipes, one official suffered bed bugs and players struggled to sleep in the rowdy neighbourhood.
"It was more uncomfortable and unreasonable conditions for what we're used to," he said.
"If you want the best players playing it (Davis Cup), you've got to have good conditions.
"The crowds were fine. The court was OK. The hotel - not knowing if you were going to have a good night's sleep - wasn't great.
"There were car horns all the time on one side of the hotel and there was an aviary and barking dogs on the other side.
"You go all that way to play Davis Cup, you shouldn't be worrying about having a good night's sleep.
"The food was a worry over there, too, so we took our own chef.
"A few of the people had rooms where the sewage backed up through the pipes and that wasn't much fun. It stunk. Our manager had bed bugs.
"It was pretty grotty."
Rafter said he raised the complaints with ITF representatives but received little support.
"The ITF was there and I said, 'This is crap.' They didn't want to listen and they fined us because the boys didn't go to the dinner," Rafter said.
"I didn't want the boys to do what they didn't want to.
"They (ITF) said, 'You should have been here earlier,' and I said we were preparing to get ready for the match (in Munich).
"So I played hardball with them. I'm going to try and get all the captains and players who want change and get the head guys off the (Davis Cup) committee."