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Hewitt plays down Laver Cup's significance

Lleyton Hewitt says the Davis Cup - not the Laver Cup - is and should always remain the pinnacle team event in men's tennis.

Hewitt plays down Laver Cup's significance

Lleyton Hewitt says the Davis Cup - not the Laver Cup - is and should always remain the pinnacle team event in men's tennis.

Lleyton Hewitt has launched a passionate defence of Davis Cup, saying it remains the premier event in team tennis and should never be overshadowed by the new Laver Cup.

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The Laver Cup, named after Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, kicks off in Prague next weekend where players from Europe and the Rest of the World will do battle over three days.


Nick Kyrgios features in the world team, captained by John McEnroe, alongside American duo Jack Sock and John Isner, Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro and Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer headline the Europe team alongside Marin Cilic, Tomas Berdych, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev.

Hewitt, who made his Davis Cup debut as an 18-year-old in 1999, and played in 42 ties, is a staunch advocate of the tournament and its current format.

"This has been here for over a hundred years," Hewitt said ahead of Australia's semi-final tie with Belgium on Thursday.

"The Laver Cup is not country against country. This is where you get to put on a green and gold jacket.

"You get to play alongside guys you grew up with. It's a pretty special time and the home and away aspect of the Davis Cup is something we should never lose.

"It's the one unique factor about this competition.Even though we are away this week we are really enjoying it. We get to bond as a team and a country.

"There is no greater honour in playing for your country."

Changes have been mooted to the current Davis Cup format with plans to make the matches the best-of-three sets instead of five as many of the world's top players often sit out the event, citing an overloaded schedule.

Hewitt refused to be drawn on his thoughts on a potential return of the World Team Cup tournament, which could take place in New York from 2019.

"I am speaking purely about the Davis Cup," he said.

"This competition has meant so much to me. I've been a part of it for over 20 years now.

"As an orange boy as a 15-year-old. To playing for so many years and now as a captain of my country.

"We come from a country with a rich tradition in this competition and I don't say things lightly about the Davis Cup.

"When I look at the players in my team who have put their hands up to play, I am so proud. I couldn't field a stronger team."


AAP



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