LONDON, July 1, 2015
The Spanish tennis players, who are currently attending the third Grand Slam of the season in Wimbledon, have come together on Sunday to publish an open letter, slamming the Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET) for a lack of transparency, mismanagement and putting personal interests before the good of the game.
The following points are part of the criticism:
- The absence of communication between the Federation and tennis professionals.
- The lack of a strategic plan to develop and promote tennis.
- The lack of transparency in the distribution of resources.
- The dearth of planning at youth and grassroots level.
- The mismanagement of the Spanish tennis brand.
- The lack of synergy between the different groups in Spanish tennis.
- The chaotic and belligerent leadership of Mr Escañuela (the president of the Federation) which led to him being suspended, including putting his personal interests before the sport and tarnishing the image of Spanish tennis.
The letter is signed by most of the active Spanish players and their coaches as well as former tennis stars of the country such as Manolo Santana (tournament director ATP Masters 1000 Madrid), Juan Carlos Ferrero (tournament director Valencia Open 250) and Carlos Moya (former Davis Cup Captain).
Ahead of this year’s All England Championships, Rafael Nadal spoke about the situation concerning the Spanish Davis Cup.
“The people in charge don’t understand or love this sport. The current situation is unusual; it isn’t good to see this in a country with as much tennis tradition as Spain has,” Nadal told in a press conference in London.
“We’ve given off a terrible image in a country that has been at the head of this sport for the last 15 or 20 years. It’s not nice to see what we’re seeing, but that’s how things are”, added Nadal, who has won the Davis Cup four times (2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011).
“What we have to do is prevent these things from happening. Seeing all this controversy in the media isn’t good for our sport. It doesn’t help with sponsors or in terms of people getting involved and interested in this sport”, explained the 29-year-old from Mallorca.
A lot of Spanish players question the decision to Gala León as the successor to Carlos Moya as Spain’s Davis Cup captain, the first female in the country’s history. Toni Nadal has criticised Leon’s decision not to meet with some of the team try and resolve any lingering issues.
“As captain she had some meetings in Indian Wells, which was surprising as that tournament was held further away, but she hasn’t appeared in Barcelona, Madrid or at the French Open,” Nadal said.
Consequently, ahead of the world group Davis Cup play-off tie against Russia, taking place from July 17 to 19 in Vladivostok, Gala Leon is facing a lack of players, who want to participate in the relegation. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (no. 63), Adrián Menéndez-Maceiras (no. 114), Inigo Cervantes (no. 144) and David Marrero (doubles no. 21) are going to form the Spanish squad playing this important tie.
“We agreed to go and we will try to get a win,” Gimeno-Traver told, being Spain’s main racket in absence of the top eight players. “To go is an opportunity for us. In Spain, this is rare for a player ranked just outside the top 60 in the world, but I would have liked to go under other circumstances,” the world number 63 told after losing to Milos Raonic in the first round at Wimbledon.
In the meantime Gala Leon has offered her resignation as captain but the Spanish Tennis Federation hasn’t accepted. Gimeo-Traver declined to comment on that and will travel to Russia with Gala León as well as Co-captain Julián Alonso as the team leaders. Spain, five time Davis Cup winner, was relegated from the World Group following defeat against Brazil in the play-offs last year.