MADRID • American No. 3 Reilly Opelka signed off from the Davis Cup Finals by firing a shot at the looming ATP Cup, describing the team event in Australia as "pathetic".
US hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the revamped Davis Cup ended despite a 2-1 Group F victory over Italy in which the doubles rubber concluded at 4am on Thursday.
The new-look Davis Cup, replacing the old World Group format with an 18-nation seven-day showdown in Madrid, has split opinion and the 24-nation ATP Cup, to be held six weeks later across three Australian cities, is seen as a rival competition.
"Well, the ATP Cup is pathetic. I think it's shocking on behalf of the ATP for them to pass that and allow that," said Opelka, 22.
"It's pretty embarrassing, actually. It's pretty bad for the sport. It makes it more top-heavy than it already is."
He added the event should not carry ranking points. "For example, I'm (36) in the world. I'm not going to play because I'm the second or third-highest ranked American, and only the top two guys play," he said.
The teams that participate in the ATP Cup are determined by the singles ranking of their best player. For a country to qualify, it must have at least three players with ATP rankings, and two of them with singles ranking.
"It's unfair, there's not equal opportunity for everyone," Opelka said. "For example, Moldova qualified. I mean, their No. 1 player (world No. 46 Radu Albot) is ranked pretty far behind me."
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