John McEnroe, who has played in every Davis Cup match the United States has participated in since 1978, said today that he does not plan to play in the U.S.-Japan series in early March.
McEnroe said he had not been asked to play but said he believed the match should be played by younger players (Japan has a weak team) and not by Jimmy Connors and himself. He said if he is asked to play in later matches this year, he would probably play.
McEnroe's remarks came as part of a continuing feud between McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and the U.S. Tennis Association in the wake of the Americans' December loss in the Davis Cup final to Sweden.
This afternoon, McEnroe responded angrily to reports that the USTA is planning to issue a written code of conduct for U.S. Davis Cup players. Davis Cup captain Arthur Ashe said this week that he expects the USTA to produce a written code, partly as the result of a letter written to the Davis Cup Committee by Harry Merlo, the chairman of the board of Louisiana-Pacific Inc., the sponsor of the Davis Cup team.
In the letter, Merlo said that the behavior of U.S. team members during the loss to Sweden "failed to meet minimum standards." McEnroe and Connors were both criticized (and Connors fined) for their behavior during the final.
Asked today about the controversy, McEnroe said: "I think the whole thing is one big joke. I didn't even see (Merlo's) letter. I might have gotten one. Maybe they sent it to my father and he didn't tell me about it. He knows better than to tell me about things like that."