Croatia was penalized points and fined an undisclosed amount for playing Davis Cup matches against Brazil on a court that was considered too fast.
Croatia will lose 2,000 points as part of the Davis Cup Committee’s ruling reached in Madrid on Sept. 23, the International Tennis Federation said Thursday. Croatia’s victory over Brazil will stand.
The head of Croatian Tennis Federation said she was “surprised and annoyed” by the decision.
“We will not accept the penalty,” said Marina Mihelic, the head of Croatian Tennis Federation.
Croatia returned to the elite World Group with a 4-1 playoff victory over Brazil in the Sept. 19-21 series on an indoor hard court at the new Sportski Centar Visnjik stadium at Zadar.
The ITF said Croatia violated the federation’s “court pace rating rule,” which assesses the speed of surfaces other than grass and clay. It’s the first such case involving the rule, which was implemented this year.
“There is a maximum and minimum pace that you are allowed to have,” ITF spokeswoman Barbara Travers said. “The Croatian court had a number that was just over the limit.”
Mihelic said the ITF checked the court three days before the matches started on Sept. 19 and concluded that the speed of surface was indeed above the maximum, but only minimally. Mihelic said she consulted ITF again and it suggested that the court surface didn’t need another layer because it would postpone the matches.
“It was never ever our intention to manipulate with the speed of the surface,” she told The Associated Press.
The ITF rejected Brazil’s appeal to have Croatia disqualified, the victory awarded to Brazil and financial compensation paid to Brazil.
The committee said the appeal was turned down because “the court was playable and the … Brazilian Federation did not appeal until well into the second day of the tie.” Brazil can still appeal the decision to the ITF’s board of directors.