Kevin Anderson: An Open Letter Regarding My Decision Not to Play Davis Cup [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Kevin Anderson: An Open Letter Regarding My Decision Not to Play Davis Cup

shotgun
09-15-2012, 12:51 AM
http://kevinandersontennis.blogspot.com.br/2012/09/an-open-letter-regarding-my-decision.html

Firstly, I would like to wish team SA the best of luck this weekend. It is unfortunate that it will not be played in South Africa, but nevertheless I know the boys will play their hearts out. I will certainly be following their progress and supporting them all the way.

There has been talk and speculation as to why I am not playing this tie against Canada in the news and on social media. At first, I thought it was better to stay quiet. Some people understand my decisions, others don't – that’s life. I appreciate the support and can understand fair criticism. However, as is often the case with the media, facts get misrepresented. I do not think forming opinions which are based on inaccurate information is fair or beneficial. Additionally, I've heard statements that are not only incorrect but also out of touch with the reality of professional tennis. For these reasons, I felt it was necessary to set the record straight.

Playing professional tennis is a very demanding profession. It differs to most other sports in terms of its individuality and global reach. The season is all year round, it is played in all parts of the world and is increasingly competitive. Yet I wouldn't change what I do for the world. It's my job, and one that I love doing.

In order to keep improving and be successful there are a few factors to consider. Besides motivation and hard work, one needs to find a way to stay healthy. I have learned that this requires proper tournament scheduling and rest periods. Another major factor is having a strong support team. Due to the success I have experienced so far, I can finally afford to employ a full time coach and physiotherapist. However, as one can imagine this is very expensive. At a minimum this type of setup costs a player $250,000 a year (R2,000,000 at the current exchange rate).

I have funded my entire career on my own. I find myself in a tricky position in attracting sponsors when I am a South African living mainly in the United States, so I have to rely heavily on prize money which is never guaranteed. Having both a coach and a physio travel with me is a huge financial burden. The prize money for someone with my ranking is not as much as you might expect when compared to the costs of life on tour; it is certainly not comparable to the earnings of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, etc. Tennis South Africa (TSA) has never provided financial support or funding to help cover the costs of playing on the tour.

In 2011 I played Davis Cup because it was financially attractive to do so; I was able to cover my expenses during the Davis Cup week and also the opportunity cost of adjusting my tournament schedule. However for this tie against Canada, TSA was not able to provide the support that justified me sacrificing my schedule and increasing my risk of injury. If I am injured during Davis Cup play, which happened last year, I receive no support, assistance or insurance from anybody. I am on my own. I told TSA during Wimbledon that the compensation for the tie needed to be sufficient to address the issues at hand. I was available to the play the tie against Canada if TSA had made me an offer that addressed my concerns. However, they did not.

Critics insinuate that the honor of playing for one's country should necessitate a player to compete in Davis Cup ties, regardless of what financial incentives are (or are not) being offered. Of course playing for my country is a massive incentive to play, but I would be foolish not to weigh the consequences as well.

I would also like to clarify my participation in the World Team Tennis (WTT) finals this week. My decision to play WTT finals came months after my choice not to play Davis Cup. About a month ago, I was asked if I wanted to compete in the finals of the WTT, which happens to take place the same weekend as the Canadian Davis Cup tie. The physical demands of WTT (which consists of a first to 5 games singles and doubles match) cannot be compared to a Davis Cup tie (which potentially involves 3 different 5 set matches over 3 days). Anybody who suggests otherwise clearly does not know the facts. It has been suggested in the press and by Davis Cup captain JL de Jager that I fabricated an injury to excuse myself from Davis Cup, while having the intention of playing WTT all along. Not only is this completely untrue and unrepresentative of the facts, but it is also impossible given that the WTT team I will play for had not qualified for the finals until early August.

Finally, I think it is important to point out that I am not the only player who has voiced concerns about the physical and scheduling demands of the Davis Cup. There have been a lot of discussions about possible ways to change the Davis Cup format. It is ridiculous that in addition to the already demanding tour schedule, there are on average 3 Davis Cup ties a year. It is common for top players to make themselves unavailable to play Davis Cup, including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. I would like nothing more than to see a new Davis Cup format that would make it easier for all our best players to compete.

At the end of the day, I believe that I have to look out for my own career and my family’s future. My whole life I have made countless sacrifices in order to be the best athlete I can be. Unfortunately, sometimes that means making tough decisions, especially when it comes to Davis Cup. I am a proud South African and I don’t believe I have to prove this by sacrificial Davis Cup participation, 3 times a year. I proudly represent South Africa every time I step out onto the court; I fundamentally believe that South African representation at ATP, WTA and Grand Slam events is just as important for tennis in South Africa as the Davis Cup.


Definitely a rationally backed decision, but it shows he doesn't have the extra motivation for Davis Cup that many players do.

tennisfan856
09-15-2012, 12:58 AM
i hope this receives some press. Kevin is a sensible, fair man.

Freak3yman84
09-15-2012, 01:03 AM
I don't blame him to be honest. But at the same time, there are lower ranked players on team SA that made the trip out to Canada. And assuming they make less than Anderson, then that means they're risking a lot more than him, no?

alter ego
09-15-2012, 01:09 AM
I don't blame him to be honest. But at the same time, there are lower ranked players on team SA that made the trip out to Canada. And assuming they make less than Anderson, then that means they're risking a lot more than him, no?

No! those lower ranked players see the Davis Cup as a huge chance to get some awarness and as a consequencea a SA sponsor. Anderson is in another league than them.

Freak3yman84
09-15-2012, 01:16 AM
No! those lower ranked players see the Davis Cup as a huge chance to get some awarness and as a consequencea a SA sponsor. Anderson is in another league than them.

Yeah... I kind of brushed over that :p

Frooty_Bazooty
09-15-2012, 01:43 AM
Hes completely right - thats a great letter

Kat_YYZ
09-15-2012, 02:37 AM
Tennis players can use rational arguments with facts and well-argued points to explain their decisions, while tennis federations usually just resort to hyperbole and drama to guilt/shame the players into playing DC. Even when the player has demonstrated their "patriotic loyalty" dozens of times, they will still pull out that old "playing for love of country" card and act like it invalidates everything else and everything the player has done in the past.

Good on you, Kevin.

vojomocart
09-15-2012, 09:22 AM
Absolutely understandable, and my opinion quite good explanation of the decision.
Kevin is wise man.....

finishingmove
09-15-2012, 09:55 AM
Tennis players can use rational arguments with facts and well-argued points to explain their decisions, while tennis federations usually just resort to hyperbole and drama to guilt/shame the players into playing DC. Even when the player has demonstrated their "patriotic loyalty" dozens of times, they will still pull out that old "playing for love of country" card and act like it invalidates everything else and everything the player has done in the past.

Good on you, Kevin.

Exactly.

Even without the fact that he got injured last year and didn't get any support, this would be a rational decision.

duarte_a
09-15-2012, 10:01 AM
Totally understandble decision. Especially given that he injured himself last year while playing davis cup and the TSA gave him no compensation.

This kinda of reminds me of the football (soccer to my american friends) that play for their countries and get injured while doing so. Many times the clubs that own the player ask for compensation.

The Prince
09-15-2012, 10:04 AM
Honest and fair. Great stuff Kevin.

Pratik
09-15-2012, 11:29 AM
Completely understandable. It's nice that he actually bothered to explain his point of view in so much detail

Johnny Groove
09-15-2012, 12:19 PM
Well done.

Just another instance of a national tennis federation trying to bully a player, and good on Anderson for punching back :yeah:

SaFed2005
09-15-2012, 12:36 PM
Tennis players can use rational arguments with facts and well-argued points to explain their decisions, while tennis federations usually just resort to hyperbole and drama to guilt/shame the players into playing DC. Even when the player has demonstrated their "patriotic loyalty" dozens of times, they will still pull out that old "playing for love of country" card and act like it invalidates everything else and everything the player has done in the past.

Good on you, Kevin.

Absolutely agree with you here! :worship:

Roamed
09-15-2012, 12:47 PM
Great stuff from Kevin :worship:

Nr 1 Fan
09-15-2012, 12:53 PM
Great letter, Anderson seems like a smart and honest guy.

pray-for-palestine-and-israel
09-15-2012, 02:18 PM
TL:DR

money > patriotism

Looner
09-15-2012, 02:26 PM
Good stuff. Davis cup is irrelevant when you cannot support a normal life style after so many sacrifices to get to the top of your profession.

Time Violation
09-15-2012, 02:35 PM
TL:DR

money > patriotism

:stupid:

Anderson :worship:

MaxPower
09-15-2012, 02:57 PM
I dunno. The problem with DC is indeed the money. Wish Davis Cup had some big time sponsors that could feed the tennis federations giant sums of money. Sadly I don't think the public interest in DC is large enough to get that kind of sponsorship. (sponsors always want some "return", they arent doing charity....)

If it was more money flowing then countries could pay their participants like $100k each or so. Then oh boy would it become attractive to play DC suddenly.

But atm I understand guys like Kevin completely.

Action Jackson
09-15-2012, 03:03 PM
It's all about the cash. Anderson presented his viewpoint well but the his issue is more about the problem with his federation and the conflict which arises due to Davis Cup representation.

Time Violation
09-15-2012, 03:06 PM
If it was more money flowing then countries could pay their participants like $100k each or so. Then oh boy would it become attractive to play DC suddenly.

Well, it's not like playing DC is going to cure the sick or stop the wars. If they want a strong DC participation, they should pay, otherwise just be happy with whoever decides to turn up.

finishingmove
09-15-2012, 03:06 PM
It's all about the cash. Anderson presented his viewpoint well but the his issue is more about the problem with his federation and the conflict which arises due to Davis Cup representation.

money = life

unfortunately.

redshift36188
09-15-2012, 03:21 PM
In 2011 I played Davis Cup because it was financially attractive to do so; I was able to cover my expenses during the Davis Cup week and also the opportunity cost of adjusting my tournament schedule. However for this tie against Canada, TSA was not able to provide the support that justified me sacrificing my schedule and increasing my risk of injury. If I am injured during Davis Cup play, which happened last year, I receive no support, assistance or insurance from anybody. I am on my own.
By that logic, you wouldn't play any tournament as there is allways a risk of injury.



I would also like to clarify my participation in the World Team Tennis (WTT) finals this week. My decision to play WTT finals came months after my choice not to play Davis Cup. About a month ago, I was asked if I wanted to compete in the finals of the WTT, which happens to take place the same weekend as the Canadian Davis Cup tie. The physical demands of WTT (which consists of a first to 5 games singles and doubles match) cannot be compared to a Davis Cup tie (which potentially involves 3 different 5 set matches over 3 days). Anybody who suggests otherwise clearly does not know the facts.
Being the best South African player I'm sure you are in good position to negotiate that you will only play 2 matches max. If you want to play another tournament, that's up to you, I don't have a problem with it, but don't come up with poor excuses.



At the end of the day, I believe that I have to look out for my own career and my family’s future. My whole life I have made countless sacrifices in order to be the best athlete I can be. Unfortunately, sometimes that means making tough decisions, especially when it comes to Davis Cup. I am a proud South African and I don’t believe I have to prove this by sacrificial Davis Cup participation, 3 times a year. I proudly represent South Africa every time I step out onto the court; I fundamentally believe that South African representation at ATP, WTA and Grand Slam events is just as important for tennis in South Africa as the Davis Cup.


OMG, 3 times a year?! :eek:

How dare they subject you to such a sacrifice, specially for a guy who allways goes deep in the tournaments the week before, right, right?

Looner
09-15-2012, 03:26 PM
OMG, 3 times a year?! :eek:

How dare they subject you to such a sacrifice, specially for a guy who allways goes deep in the tournaments the week before, right, right?

This may not seem that much but considering he doesn't get that far in slams, a DC tie is as long as a GS for him.

August
09-15-2012, 03:42 PM
Sadly I don't think the public interest in DC is large enough to get that kind of sponsorship. (sponsors always want some "return", they arent doing charity....)

I don't know why people wouldn't be interested in DC. Large public is always very nationalistic, they support their own country's players. And that's not only in tennis, UEFA Champions League offers the best football, yet FIFA World Cup gets most attention. In my opinion, DC could be the most interesting competition for fans after slams. Only interest for random fans in MMs is that if some big names play there, they want to see them. But they don't care too much if those big names lost, main thing is that they win majors. But it'd be important for DC to get the big names playing, if only mugs play, it lacks credibility. If big names played DC more often, people would be interested to see them as well as their countries playing.

And I think ITF should pay a compensation for players playing in DC, thus making DC more attractive than a Challenger that week and 250 the following week.

shotgun
09-15-2012, 03:57 PM
By that logic, you wouldn't play any tournament as there is allways a risk of injury.

What he means is that some tournaments offer a prize money and ranking points that make it worth it to assume the risk of getting injured. Davis Cup (in the case of the RSA federation) doesn't.


Being the best South African player I'm sure you are in good position to negotiate that you will only play 2 matches max. If you want to play another tournament, that's up to you, I don't have a problem with it, but don't come up with poor excuses.

Two best-of-five set matches, in 2-3 days, that's not light on the body.


OMG, 3 times a year?! :eek:

How dare they subject you to such a sacrifice, specially for a guy who allways goes deep in the tournaments the week before, right, right?

:lol:

Anderson doesn't usually go deep in tournaments but he tries to compensate that by playing week after week.

Anyway, the fact that he's currently the only top South African player, and they count on him so much to get Davis Cup victories, only aggravates the issue. If there were 2-3 players in the top 100 then it wouldn't be much of a big deal for the RSA federation to offer few money to the players, as they could alternate throughout the year.

r2473
09-15-2012, 04:08 PM
Anderson is obviously not a real American :cool:

BrunoBeidacki
09-15-2012, 04:34 PM
Kevin, you just earned yourself a new fan. Well written letter, showing just facts, and countless reasons NOT to play the Davis Cup tie. Why should national associations expect players to play for them if they don't give them any insurance or reason besides patriotism to play? It's a shame that this happens in such a high level competition. South Africa could beat Canada if Kevin was there... any way, well done Kevin.