Davis Cup will remain a yearly competition – ITF President Ricci Bitti confirmed - UBITENNIS
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Davis Cup will remain a yearly competition – ITF President Ricci Bitti confirmed

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TENNIS DAVIS CUP – Male Tennis Pros will have to forget about their repeated suggestions that the Davis Cup competition will be played every two years: ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti will have none of that and he has recently confirmed this via ITF-Press release.

 

Male Tennis Pros will have to forget about their repeated suggestions that the Davis Cup competition will be played every two years: ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti will have none of that and he has recently confirmed this via ITF-Press release. Ricci Bitti, who according to ITF sources will soon announce a re-election bid that might lead to him staying in the job until 2019, has other ideas for his sport. He would consider holding the Davis Cup with matches in a best-of-3-sets format, and he would love to do away with second serves altogether.

However Ricci Bitti would further like to make sets shorter so tennis is more TV-friendly, and to stop players from wasting so much time. “We have a little problem in tennis, which is that we don’t respect spectators too much,” the Italian official told dpa in an interview in New York. Also being president of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), Ricci Bitti is passionate about tennis and loses patience only slightly when reminded that many professional players say the Davis Cup is obsolete and needs to change.“The biggest criticism of the Davis Cup is without a doubt inspired by people with other interests. If you play every two years, that frees up several weeks that can be used for other business,” he said. With this he might think of much wanted sponsor- and media-representation duties of the top-players that do take away a lot of time indeed.

Ricci Bitti does not agree with any proposal of format change and pointblank refuses even discussing this: “I will not change the annual nature of the Davis Cup, that would make it less important. Another pillar of the Davis Cup is to play ties at home and away: it is the only chance for many countries to watch professional tennis (on site). That is very important,” he stressed and made clear that he favours another option that is being discussed, playing three sets per match as opposed to the traditional five. “That could be, it could be. That is a different issue: we are very reluctant to make fundamental changes, because the Davis Cup is very successful. But whether it is played in a best-of-five or best-of-three format is within the options. I do not rule that out as something we might consider in the future,” he said. An idea that is backed i.e. by Sweden’s Mats Wilander, a former world No 1 and a three-time Davis Cup champion. “That’s not a bad idea,” Wilander told dpa. “I think that would make huge sense for TV. It would make sense for everyone, except you might not necessarily have the right winners, because five sets is different.”

When reminded of player criticism, Ricci Bitti recaptures: “In 2007 we received a letter that had been signed by 17 of the world’s 20 top players. We took their requests into account, we did away with the week off between Grand Slam tournaments and Davis Cup series. Now many say that is a mistake. They changed their minds, they forgot. They also requested points for the rankings, we gave them those. Now there are players who say it is not fair to award points for a team competition, and in a way that makes sense, because they do not all play,” he said.

Changing the rules of tennis is a long process that does not depend exclusively on Ricci Bitti, but the ITF president has a couple of ideas, which are: “I would change two things: I would shorten sets, because attention always peaks at the end of sets. If you shorten sets you will get more attention peaks,” he said. This means that instead of playing matches in a best-of-three-set format with each set winner having to win at least six games, Ricci Bitti would like to have a best-of-five sets format with players winning only four games to win the set. However: “We tried that in 2002, and the ATP agreed, but the players said no,” he said. “The other change is to allow just one serve. Serving is a focus stroke. The first serve is played at high risk. It would be very important to see what players would do with just one.” Later this month the ITF Annual General meeting in Dubai will be held and of course it remains to be seen whether this issues will be further debated and/or decided upon.

Also ITF confirmed the calendar dates for the 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas:

World Group first round: 6-8 March

World Group quarterfinals: 17-19 July

World Group semifinals and play-offs: 18-20 September

World Group Final: 27-29 November

The Davis Cup Committee has also confirmed the following weeks for the 2017-18 competition. Because of the complexity of the tennis calendar in an Olympic year, the 2016 dates are still being discussed.

World Group first round: week after Australian Open

World Group quarterfinals: week after Miami

World Group semifinals and play-offs: week after US Open

World Group Final: week after ATP World Tour Finals

The 2014 Davis Cup World Group finalists France and Switzerland will contest the World Group Final on 21-23 November 2014 in France.

Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in sport, with 122 nations taking part in 2014. The competition is 114 years old having been founded in 1900. The title sponsor is BNP Paribas, the Official Bank of Davis Cup. International sponsors are Rolex (Official Timekeeper) Adecco (Official HR Sponsor) and NH Hotels (Official Hotel), while Wilson Sporting Goods (Official Ball) is an international partner.

Davis Cup

Davis Cup Finals To Be Extended To 11 Days But With Fewer Teams

One of the oldest tennis events in the world will be changed once again.

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The International Tennis Federation has approved a series of changes for the prestigious Davis Cup competition with the option of a multi-city finale on the cards.

 

In a bid to ‘ease the burden on players’ the ITF Board has extended the length of the Davis Cup finals from seven to 11 days. The move comes following the inaugural competition in 2019 when some ties went on until as late as 4am due to the scheduling. As a result of the change, this year’s finale is set to take place between November 25th – December 5th. Meaning that the competition will eat more into the off-season which players use to train for the following year.

Furthermore, from 2022 the number of teams playing in the finals will be reduced from 18 to 16. This year’s field will remain unchanged as the teams have already been decided. Both of these proposals were put forward by Kosmos, who is the main financial backer of the competition.

“We recognise that the most successful tournaments adapt and evolve over time, and while the inaugural Davis Cup Finals delivered fantastic tennis, it also provided some learnings,” tournament director Albert Costa said in a statement.
“We are committed to a long-term vision for this historic competition and are confident these adjustments will enhance the experience for players and fans.”

Discussions are also underway over the possibility of making the end-of-season team showdown a multi-city event. Kosmos wants to expand the number of hosts from one to three. Although details about how this will be done have not been disclosed and the ITF are yet to approve it. Supporters of the idea argue that it will make the event appeal to a wider audience.

“With large stadiums providing show courts for all ties, the introduction of a multi-city event will bring the competition to the widest possible audience, while we will also be able to ease the burden on players with improvements to the scheduling. Crucially, a revised schedule will allow us to avoid late finishes while providing more rest for players,” Costa commented.

Should the multi-city idea get the green light, Madrid will still host both the semi-finals and final of the event. Meanwhile the other two cities would each stage two group stages and one quarter-final. Interestingly Kosmos Tennis has already launched a bid to find cities despite their proposal not being approved yet.

The Davis Cup Finals will return later this year after the 2020 edition was forced to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Spain are the reigning champions.

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Viktor Troicki Set For Key Davis Cup Role

The 34-year-old will continue his playing career in 2021 but is also likely to take on a top coaching position in his country.

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Former world No.12 Viktor Troicki is likely to become the new captain of the Serbian Davis Cup team next year, according to various news sources.

 

Kurir newspaper has reported that the 34-year-old is set to take on the role when Nenad Zimonjic’s term as captain expires next year. Troicki is still an active player and is currently ranked 201st in the world following what has been a disappointing season for him. He has only managed to win one main draw match on the ATP Tour this season which was in January at the Pune Open in India.

“I am aware that the time is slowly coming when I am finishing my professional career. Now my priority is to prepare as well as possible for the new season,” Troicki recently told 24sedam.rs.
“I give myself about five or six months to see how I would feel, but also what results I would achieve. My plans also depend on that a lot. If it goes well, that’s great, but if I see that it’s not going and I’m struggling, I think that I will most likely stop playing actively.”

At the height of his career, Troicki was ranked 12th in the world rankings back in 2011. He has won three ATP titles with two of those occurring in Australia at the Sydney International in 2015 and 2016. He also won the 2010 Kremlin Cup in Moscow. In the Davis Cup he has played in 24 ties, including the 2010 final where Serbia won the team competition for the first time in history. Overall, he has won 24 out of 40 matches played at the event.

There has been no official confirmation yet of Troicki’s appointment but he has previously stated that he hopes to stay working in the sport after retiring. Should he take the role as captain, his term is set to continue until after the 2024 Olympic Games.

“As for my future plans, of course I will stay in tennis. I have been in it all my life and I think that I will give the most in where I am the best,” he said.
“I have some plans, but I don’t want to talk about them yet. Slowly, all in good time. My focus is on the beginning of preparations, and to do them as well as possible.”

Whilst he is staying coy about his future plans, another player has already praised his appointment as coach. During a recent TV interview on Nova S Filip Krajinović hinted that the appointment is already a done deal.

First of all, we are friends, Ziki (Zimonjic) did an amazing job, Viktor is now the coach, we all supported him and we can’t wait to play for the national team again. We couldn’t play this year because of this situation, I hope there will be opportunities,” Krajinović commented.

The first glimpse of Troicki as a coach could occur earlier than Serbia’s next Davis Cup tie. Blic has reported that should the ATP Cup go ahead, he could be their team captain. Although this has not been confirmed.

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Is Covid-19 Just An Excuse To Axe The 2020 Davis Cup Finals?

The decision to cancel the team event five months before it was set to start may be more complex than what officials are letting on.

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On Friday the International Tennis Federation issued a statement to confirm that their two premier tennis team events will not be taking place this year.

The Davis Cup and Fed Cup tournaments have been delayed until 2021 due to the global uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Davis Cup, it is only the 12th time in history a season has ended without a champion being decided since its birth in 1900 and the first since 1945. The teams that have qualified for the week-long finals this year will instead have to wait until November 2021 to battle it out for the title.

“This is a tough decision to have to make, but delivering an international team event on this scale while guaranteeing the health and safety of all involved ultimately poses too great a risk,” ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement. “It is a complex undertaking and we have made the decision now to provide certainty for players, national associations and fans.”

There are however some questions over why the ITF has made this announcement five months before the start of the tournament. Especially when both the ATP and WTA Tours are set to restart in August. Furthermore Madrid, where this year’s finals were scheduled to take place, will still host their premier combined event at the Caja Magica in September.

“It’s the inconsistencies that I find tedious. Two months before the Davis Cup was meant to be playing we are playing at the same venue in Madrid for the masters. In regards to the crowds there seemed to be a fair bit of social distancing at this event last year,” John Millman wrote on Twitter.

It appears that there could be a more substantial financial reason to postpone the Kosmos-backed event. Investment company Kosmos was founded by Gerard Pique and has pledged millions into the Davis Cup in a deal to help revamp it. French newspaper L’Equipe have quoted sources reporting that the event lost an astonishing 50 million euros in 2019, which was the first year where the new format took place. Furthermore, it has been reported that the decision to scrap November’s event will help save 18 million euros.

Furthermore, one senior figure at Tennis Canada has suggested that Pique had tried to do everything he could to prevent the tournament from taking place. Louis Borfiga, who serves as his country’s Vice President of High Performance, said he believes there has been no meetings with the federations prior to Friday’s announcement.

“While everyone is doing everything possible to try to replay, I have the impression that Piqué did everything to prevent the Davis Cup from taking place this year,” he said in a separate interview with L’Equipe.
“ They (Kosmos leaders) put forward health reasons, I hope they are the right ones. They are going to have the right role. There is nothing we can say about health.”
“When I read the official press release, I am surprised by one thing. It is Piqué who speaks first, and the president of the ITF (David Haggerty) after. That too is shocking.” He added.

Borfiga is not alone in this view. Back in March tennis player Nicola Mahut criticised Pique for not being more optimistic about holding the finals this year. The Spaniard had previously said he was ‘pessimistic’ about having the event without fans.

“The message he sent through his statements is: ” If Madrid is complicated and we cannot do it, well it will be cancelled and he will save some money.” Mahut commented.

According to Diario AS, the Madrid economy will lose in the region of 50 million euros due to the finals not being held. Furthermore, it is estimated that 600 jobs would have been created to support the running of the tournament from start to finish.




 

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