Spanish Davis Cup captain not interested in sexist debate
Gala Leon Garcia has rejected suggestions from Rafael Nadal`s coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, that her selection as Spain`s first female Davis Cup captain is impractical.
Madrid: Gala Leon Garcia has rejected suggestions from Rafael Nadal`s coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, that her selection as Spain`s first female Davis Cup captain is impractical.
Toni Nadal had expressed his surprise at the decision announced on Sunday, claiming Leon Garcia is not well-known to his 14-time Grand Slam winning nephew or the rest of Spain`s top male players.
Moreover, he claimed that her ability to coach the team would be compromised by not being able to enter the dressing rooms at all times.
"I don`t want to be misinterpreted because I don`t have anything against a woman coaching a player, but it surprises me for various reasons," he told Spanish National Radio.
"Firstly, she is not known on the male circuit. Rafa doesn`t know her and I think it is the same with the other players.
"Also, there is a logistical difficulty to overcome. In the Davis Cup you spend a lot of time in the dressing room with little clothes on and it is strange to have a woman inside.
"I like things to be as easy as possible and I understand that it is easier that the captain is a man."
However, Leon Garcia insisted she is more worried about returning Spain to the World Group in 2015 after they were relegated for the first time in 18 years with a 3-1 defeat in Brazil this month, leading to the resignation of former world number one Carlos Moya as captain.
"It is a debate that I am not going to enter into. They are respectable comments. We have exhausted the debate and it is developing little by little.
"I am not here to create a debate about sexism, but to get Spain back in the World Group and I hope to bring the Davis Cup back home soon.
"I don`t think there will be any problem with the dressing room. I was in Sao Paulo. It is very simple, you knock on the door and that`s it."
Nadal is one of a number of leading Spanish players, including world number seven David Ferrer, to have missed both their country`s defeat to Germany earlier in the year before the latest disappointment against Brazil.
And Moya hinted this week that he would return to the job in the future if and when the competition returns to being a priority for the top players.
Leon Garcia, 40, played for 14 years on the WTA tour between 1991 and 2004, achieving a career high ranking of 27 in 2000.
Her appointment is the latest high profile move towards female coaches in the men`s game after two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray`s decision to hire Amelie Mauresmo in June.