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By Richard Pagliaro | Monday March 23, 2020

Sam Groth

Sam Groth says that the FFT is more than happy to take a shot at the Laver Cup before it gets too big.

Photo Source: TA

Sam Groth says Roland Garros’ rescheduling isn’t only about self preservation.

It’s a hit job.

Roland Garros’ rescheduling is direct effort to “kill the Laver Cup,” says the former Australian Davis Cup player.

The French Tennis Federation stunned the tennis world announcing its unilateral decision to shift the French Open from May to September 20th—the week after the US Open ends. The decision was announced the prior to the ATP and WTA jointly canceling the spring clay-court season due to the coronavirus crisis.

That schedule shift places the clay-court Grand Slam’s first weekend in direct competition with the Laver Cup, set for September 25-27th at Boston’s TD Garden. []

Groth charges the FFT and ITF with joining forces to take a shot at the popular Laver Cup, which has sold out three different cities—Prague, Chicago and Geneva—over the past three years. The Aussie tennis television analyst suggests the FFT and ITF are tag-teaming against Laver Cup, which they view as a threat to the ITF’s Davis Cup finals staged in Madrid in November.

“The other thing that's been missed a little bit in this is the FFT, they're very much in cahoots with the ITF and they've been a big supporter of the new-look Davis Cup," Groth told Australia’s Channel 9.

"What they've gone and done is they've put themselves in a week that coincides with the Laver Cup, which people see as a bit of a threat—alongside the ATP Cup—to this new-look Davis Cup.

"They've gone and backed themselves in, put themselves in a situation where they're trying to—I feel—kill the Laver Cup before it starts to get as big as a Ryder Cup for example.”

The US Open announced it is reviewing all options, including possibly moving its August start time to a later date.

Laver Cup, which is owned by Roger Federer’s Team8 Management and counts Tennis Australia and the USTA among its partners, announced it has no plans to change its spot in the September schedule.

Groth says Roland Garros’ scheduling shift puts players in an impossible situation—and predicts the calendar conflict could ultimately be decided in court.

"They're looking at that sort of model from a tennis point of view and if you go and make players decide between playing this event (Laver Cup) or playing the French Open, it's going to be a heck of a decision for the players to have to make,” Groth said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we see this one end up in the courts at some point, because a lot of sponsors and a lot of money [is] involved.

"It (Laver Cup) is meant to be in Boston this year. It's going to be this interesting one, there's a lot to play out still."


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