Answer: Didn't wanna, maybe ma�ana. But don't book it. Tom Gorman, Ashe's successor as Davis Cup captain, went to Tucson not long ago to visit with McEnroe, and John said he needed time off. "He is very interested in playing," says Gorman, himself a former Davis Cupper, "but not just now."
Connors, approached six weeks ago by Gorman in Philadelphia, offered no real excuse. Just no. "Jimmy is never a hundred percent on his schedule," says Gorman. "He is cutting back, and he's not sure where the Davis Cup fits in."
Even if McEnroe and Connors had deigned to play, the U.S. still would not be a cinch to win the Cup. After all, they have been joined at the top of the tennis rankings by such names as Lendl, Wilander, Becker, Edberg, Jarryd and Nystrom. Even more troubling is the paucity of first-rate talent coming along as the sun sets on Connors and perhaps McEnroe. Ashe says half of the Top 10 should be from the U.S. Currently three are: McEnroe, Connors and Brad Gilbert, ranked 10th, who was in Guayaquil but was not selected to play.
Increasingly, what talent the U.S. does have tends to conclude, as Collins points out, that the Davis Cup is "not on their financial calendar." Never mind that the U.S. players get $15,000 per round and share in an additional purse of some $200,000 if they go through the four rounds to the finals. McEnroe made $125,000 playing Cup matches one year, but he can make almost that much playing a weekend exhibition in the U.S.
Simply put, the Davis Cup is not as important to American players as it is to those of other countries. Besides, the U.S. did win it in 1982, which is not so long ago. Yet.