MADRID (Reuters) - The new president of the Spanish tennis federation (RFET) has fired the nation’s first female Davis Cup captain, Gala Leon, two weeks before the Group I second-round tie away to Russia.
Leon, who had a career-high ranking of 27 as a player, was a surprise choice to replace Carlos Moya, who stood down last year after the five-times winners were relegated from the World Group following defeat by Brazil in a playoff.
Top players including Rafa Nadal and David Ferrer questioned Leon’s appointment and the decision to sack her is seen as an attempt by president Fernando Fernandez-Ladreda to clear the air and persuade the players to take part in the match.
Spain need a win in the July 17-19 tie in Vladivostok to have a chance of getting back into the elite World Group for next year’s competition.
Fernandez-Ladreda took over on Thursday following Jose Luis Escanuela’s resignation after he was suspended for failing to cooperate in a probe into the organization’s finances.
In an emailed statement, the RFET did not say who might take over as captain.
“The decision was taken after a reflection on the benefits of Gala Leon continuing as... captain of the Spanish team for the upcoming tie against Russia and with the aim of achieving the best possible result,” the federation said.
Nadal, Ferrer and 42 other high-profile figures in Spanish tennis this week issued a statement criticizing what they said was poor organization and a lack of transparency at the RFET.
Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ken Ferris