Sport Tennis Masur says Davis Cup captaincy is up in the air

Masur says Davis Cup captaincy is up in the air

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Proud skipper Wally Masur believes Australia will be perennial Davis Cup contenders for the next decade despite suffering semi-final despair in Glasgow.

He’s just not sure if he’ll feature in any future success stories.

Masur seemed resigned to losing the captaincy to retiring stalwart Lleyton Hewitt following Australia’s 3-2 loss to Great Britain on Sunday.

Great Britain beats Australia in Davis Cup semi 
If we want the Davis Cup, Lleyton’s got to go

After being appointed as caretaker captain this year after Pat Rafter’s sudden resignation in January, Masur’s fate will be decided by an independent five-person selection panel.

Hewitt had been on a handshake deal to take over whenever he stopped playing, but backlash led by former Australian Open director and dual-Davis-Cup-winner Paul McNamee led to Tennis Australia putting the position vacant sign out.

Hewitt and Masur must now formally apply for the coveted role.

Masur, only the sixth Australian Davis Cup captain in the past 65 years, cherished his chance in 2015 to guide the country’s exciting young crop of stars led by Bernard Tomic, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis.

But the one-time former world No.15 singles ace and two-time Davis Cup champion admits his future is uncertain.

“Obviously Lleyton is going to be, I would suggest, the next Davis Cup captain,” Masur said.

“But there’s a panel because we’ve got some very good past players and everybody has got to have an opportunity to put their hand up.

“I took it pretty seriously because Pat (Rafter) asked me at the last minute.

“But the bottom line is I played Davis Cup under Neale Fraser. I think ‘Frase’ did it for 20 years.

“Prior to him, Harry Hopman did it for 20-something years. It’s a really important position in Australian sport.

“(John) Newcombe and (Tony) Roche did it. I did it with John Fitzgerald at the start of the 2000s.

“So to be the custodian to the Davis Cup team you want it to be in a healthy situation, so I said to my wife last night: ‘Whatever happens tomorrow, I feel like it’s been a good year’.

“All the things that I think are important about Davis Cup, I’ve held onto those traditions and the team is in a good position.

“So from that perspective, I’ve enjoyed it. I feel like I haven’t stuffed it up.”

A teammate of Masur’s in the triumphant 1983 and 1986 teams, Pat Cash, ruled himself out to AAP on Sunday, saying he’d prefer to nurture junior players.

Hewitt, Australia’s longest-serving and most successful Davis Cup singles performer, insisted in the immediate aftermath of the Glasgow defeat that he hadn’t yet “fully thought about it”.

“I’ve tried to do all I could really playing-wise, running around trying to compete with these guys,” said the former world No.1 who will retire after the Australian Open in January.

“And obviously with Pat and Wally this year we’ve felt like I still had to play a very key role with the team dynamics and as a sub-in singles player and on the doubles court … just have a bit of added experience out there for the boys.

“Now we’ll sit down and work all that out.”

Masur admitted his FoxSports commentary commitments had also made juggling the twin roles “difficult” this year and credited Hewitt and Cup coach Josh Eagle with effectively serving as vice-captains for several days last week while he was still working at the US Open.

Kokkinakis acknowledged both Hewitt and Masur as “huge” influences on his career and floated the idea of a joint captaincy, while Tomic said it would be a “great, great pleasure and honour” to play under the inspirational Hewitt.


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