Tennis-Mexico players snubbed Davis Cup tie over lack of advance notice

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Davis Cup Finals - Group B - Canada v Sweden - Madrid Arena, Madrid, Spain - November 25, 2021 General view of the trophy REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A group of Mexico's tennis players decided not to take part in this weekend's Davis Cup World Group playoff against Taiwan because they were not given enough notice about the date or venue by the Mexican Tennis Federation (FMT), they told Reuters.

In a joint statement released on Monday and signed by Santiago Gonzalez, Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela and Manuel Sanchez, among other players, they said they would not participate in the Group I qualifier in Metepec, State of Mexico.

"They (the FMT) called us very late, less than three weeks (ago), we were all in (different) tournaments," Reyes-Varela said in an interview with Reuters.

The 35-year-old, ranked 71st in doubles, explained that as players they could not choose the venue and they were also not given enough time to fit the tie into their playing schedules.

"We have had different attempts to communicate with the federation, with the directors and the coaching staff. In this case it was no exception and after several years of trying we decided to unite to seek a change."

Sanchez, 32, who last played for the Mexico Davis Cup team in 2020, added that in addition to the lack of advance warning about the tie, players' opinions were not taken into account.

"There were only a few days left for the series and they did not even allow us to choose the captain, they did not ask us what surface and conditions would benefit us the most."

"We don't want to think negatively, but several series have already been held in the same place and we would like there to be more transparency in this aspect," Sanchez added.

Santiago Gonzalez, who reached world number 22 in doubles in March last year, said playing at high altitude and then leaving for his next tournament in France was not an option for him.

"It's not ideal to play at 2,800 metres above sea level, (Ernesto) Escobedo didn't want to debut for the same reason, it's not easy to play a Davis Cup (tie) like that ... that's why we wondered why they chose this place," the 39-year-old added.


The FMT, which named a new team to face Taiwan after the players initially called up decided not to play, said that along with Reyes-Varela and Sanchez, three of the players who signed the joint statement - Alejandro Hernandez, Lucas Gomez and Gerardo Lopez - were ineligible because of their rankings.

An FMT statement on Tuesday added that Escobedo had problems with his passport, Hans Hach declined the invitation to play and Gonzalez withdrew for personal and family problems.

"Family problems no," said Gonzalez. "Obviously I'm at home with my family but (the reasons) why we're not playing is because of the lack of communication and planning, and all that has involved not being able to choose the venue where to play or know anything about the Davis Cup (tie)."

The veteran player added that lack of dialogue had been a constant problem for the last 10 years.

"With the federation there has always been a lack of communication and not doing things right."

According to Reyes-Varela, there were still issues to work on despite previous meetings with the federation.

"We're looking for a commitment to put in writing all these protocols so that in the end things work better for the future of Mexican tennis.

"We know that we're not the only ones who are going to decide. In fact, of course we're not going to impose where to play or what conditions. We just want to be able to ... establish a dialogue where we can all have our say." he added.

(This story has been corrected to fix the year from 2011 to 2020 in paragraph 6)

(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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