Davis Cup - Reed: Serbia look too hot for France

Thu, 02 Dec 14:38:00 2010

The Davis Cup final takes place this weekend and I think the Serbs will win - I even think it might be quite easy for them too.

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I feel the atmosphere will be just too hot for the French to handle. Taking on the Serbs in Belgrade is never easy - it is going to be quite noisy and quite nasty, and I don't think the French have the players to cope.

When it comes to these type of battles it all comes down to heart and for that reason I'm surprised the French have left Michael Llodra out of the opening singles.

I felt that he could have been the wild card in the French team. I don't fancy Gael Monfils or Gilles Simon in the red-hot atmosphere the home fans are sure to generate.

Novak Djokovic you feel will win both his singles matches and then the Serbs also look very strong in the doubles - Nenad Zimonjic is a good as they come in that format - and all that takes some of the pressure off Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki.

I think it will be a fantastic achievement for a country like Serbia to win the Davis Cup too. Tennis is growing in the country at a staggering rate on the back of the successes of Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, but if they managed to win this, in their own backyard, it would be something else.

How much attention the rest of the world outside of Serbia and France will pay to the final is another thing though - it does have a bit of an 'after the Lord Mayor's show' feel to it - although try telling that to the Serbs and the French.

The Davis Cup certainly has its place in the calendar but the problem is that the top players still have varied levels of commitment towards it.

Some people have suggested having the entire event over the same two week period but would the players play in that any more than they are doing at the moment?

They might if they picked the right week, but you just don't know with today's professionals and that makes any tinkering a risk.

It might work though because at the moment every Davis Cup tie is essentially a week-long event. Even though the matches only take place at the weekend, the players always meet up early in the week.

So if you just extended that by four or five days you could have a proper tournament and you are actually reducing the players' commitment because it would only take up one spell of their season.

The Davis Cup final will always be something that tennis journalists and die-hard fans will talk about, but will it be a big TV watch? I don't think the TV figures are that extraordinary.

How many people will watch it in the UK? I'm guessing not many.

I know from our own figures at Eurosport that people watch en masse the Grand Slams. Take any Grand Slam and our viewing figures would be four to five times bigger than our regular tennis audience.

I'd imagine the figures from the Davis Cup final would be about half what we would get for an average day at a Grand Slam - not a finals' day or anything - just a regular day, and I think that is currently where the Davis Cup is at. Better than most tournaments, but nowhere near as big as a Grand Slam in the eyes of the casual sports fan.

It is an interesting concept as to whether a 10-day international extravaganza of team tennis is possible because at the moment the Davis Cup is something purely for the tennis aficionados, and doesn't capture the general public's imagination unless your team is involved in the latter stages.

However, international competition, for everyone apart from the sports fanatic, tends to just involve supporting the country your from unless you are talking about superstars. For example, everyone will watch Barcelona against Real Madrid because it is full of stars but will we watch Villarreal v Deportivo? The answer for most of us would be no.

And that is the problem a team championship would have. Sure we would watch Spain v Switzerland if it was Nadal v Federer but it's hard to imagine the other matches catching the public imagination in a similar vein.

Simon Reed / Eurosport

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