Home And Away Ties To Stay In Bid To Save Proposed Davis Cup Revamp - UBITENNIS
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Home And Away Ties To Stay In Bid To Save Proposed Davis Cup Revamp

The ITF hopes to attract support for their proposed changes to the team event with a new compromise

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David Haggerty, president of the International Tennis Federation (zimbio.com)

The president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has confirmed that home-and-away ties will be used during the opening round of the Davis Cup in a plan to revamp the competition.

Earlier this year David Haggerty revealed plans for week-long 18-team event taking place at one location each year. Changing the current format of the competition, which takes place at various stages throughout the year. The proposal has already secured financial backing from Kosmos, the investment company owned by Barcelona F.C. footballer Gerard Pique. Should it get the go ahead, Kosmos will invest $3 billion over a 25-year period.

The proposal has prompted backlash from some members of the tennis community. Who have accused the ITF of trying to damage the competition by removing home and away ties. French player Lucas Pouille has previously threatened to boycott any new-look event and Lleyton Hewitt has accused the governing body of having ‘their heads in the sand.’ Yannick Noah, who is the captain of the French Davis Cup team, also previously said the new plans would turn the event into a ‘circus.’ Amid the uproar, the ITF have adjusted their plans in a bid to win over support.

“We are looking at a round of 24 home-and-away ties in February, in the week after the Australian Open, producing 12 winners.” Haggerty told The Telegraph.
“They would then go on to the November tournament, along with the four semi-finalists from the previous year, and two invited teams.”
“It’s important for the national federations to be able to stage ties. It’s a way of promoting the sport and of connecting with fans.” He later added.

Should the plan be passed, it is likely that the first week-long tournament will be help in Europe at the end of 2019. Both Spain and France have been mentioned as potential hosts of the tournament. Officials want the event to be held in the continent due to its close proximity to the ATP Finals, which takes place at the O2 Arena in London.

“It would be easier for the players to stay in Europe, with the way the end of the season is set up,” Haggerty said. “Although things might change if the ATP World Tour Finals were to move away from London after 2020.”

In August a vote will take place on the proposal at a ITF AGM meeting in America. It requires at least two thirds of backing from members in order for it to go ahead.

Fed Cup faces similar changes

The Fed Cup is also in line to experience similar changes in the future. Earlier this year the president of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, said that plans are underway to expand the size of the women’s group. The top group of the competition currently features eight teams.

“The purpose of the reform is to favour more teams in the World Group.” Giudicelli told reporters.

Haggerty has weighed in on the speculation by saying the ITF plans to change the structure of the Fed Cup in 2020 to bring it in line with the men’s competition.

“We’re all for equality,” said Haggerty. “The Davis Cup reform is a very big project. We’re looking to get it set up from next year and then we will try to take the Fed Cup in the same direction.”

Any future proposal would also be subjected to a vote.

Davis Cup

Kosmos Chief Says Davis Cup Will Continue ‘With Or Without’ Star Players Amid Boycott Fears

The key investor of the revamped team competition has hit back at criticism of its founder Gerard Pique.

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The CEO of investment firm Kosmos has played down fears over a series of high-profile players missing the Davis Cup finals next year as it switches to a week-long event.

Javier Alonso has spoken out about the issue during a trip to the Shanghai Masters. Alonso was at the Masters 1000 tournament alongside Barcelona F.C centre-back Gerard Pique, who is the founder of the company. Kosmos has pledged to invest $3 billion into the Davis Cup over the next 25 years. Under the new format, 18 teams will play in an end-of-season finals. Removing the tradition of home and away finals. The group consists of 12 qualified teams, the four semi-finalists from the previous year and two wild cards.

“Gerard Pique has not come to save the Davis Cup because there’s nothing to save, it’s a historical competition which will keep on existing, with or without tennis’ biggest stars.” Alonso told Spanish news agency EFE.

Pique was spotted holding a discussion with Novak Djokovic during his time in China. Although it is unclear as to what was discussed. The meeting came at a time where a series of high-profile players have cast doubts on their participation. Germany’s Alexander Zverev became the first top 10 player to publicly say that he will not be playing in the tournament. Saying that his decision has been made due to the timing of the event, which takes place at the end of November.

“Because in November I do not want to play tennis anymore. I think all the top guys will say the same thing.” Zverev told reporters in Shanghai about why he will miss the 2019 Davis Cup final.
“We have one-and-a-half months off in our season, and that’s the end of November and December. Making a tournament at the end of November, which is ten days long and playing and competing, it’s crazy. I mean, by the end of the year, we are all tired.”

Another blow came from 20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer. The Swiss world No.2 said that the event ‘wasn’t designed’ for him. Federer has previously warned Pique against trying to interfere with the Davis Cup. Saying that the team event should not be turned into the ‘Pique Cup.’

“No, I highly doubt [I’ll be there],” said Federer. “We’ll see what happens.
“I don’t think this was designed for me anyhow. This was designed for the future generation of players.”

Djokovic is also yet to commit to the event. His meeting with Pique in Shanghai has been described as one that ‘has been done a million times before.’ Indicating that no new agreements has been made.

Alonso, who was the former director general of Dorma Sports, has dismissed allegations that his company is trying to fix the team tournament. Saying that the future of the event is not under threat. The words come as the ATP gets ready to bring back the World Team Cup from 2020. An event that will offer ranking points and prize money.

“We’ve not come to save anything because there’s nothing to save. The Davis Cup is 118 years old and will keep getting older.” He stated.
“It’s a team competition and the most important things is the teams, not the players.”

Next year’s Davis Cup finals will take place at the Caja Magica between November 18th to 24th.

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Alexander Zverev To Skip Davis Cup And Warns Other Players Could Do The Same

It has been revealed that at least two other high-profile players are yet to commit to the team tournament following its revamp.

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German world No.5 Alexander Zverev has confirmed that he will skip the Davis Cup finals next year due to the ‘crazy’ scheduling of the event.

The historic men’s tournament is set to go through the biggest change in its history. In 2019 a 18-team tournament will be played at the end of November with a similar structure to that of the World Cup. The finals will consist of 12 qualified teams, the four semi-finalists from the previous year and two wild cards. Investment firm Kosmos, which is owned by Gerard Pique, has pledged to invest $3 billion over 25 years.

Despite the new format being approved at the International Tennis Federation’s annual AGM meeting, there are critics. Countries such as Australia are unhappy about the decision to play the finals at a neutral venue. Taking away home and away ties. There are also questions about how Kosmos and the ITF will guarantee their investment over the coming years.

The biggest issue the tournament is facing concerns the scheduling. It will get underway at the end of November after the ATP World Tour finals. Cutting into what is already a short off-season break for players. Speaking about the event, 21-year-old Zverev has criticised the timing. Stating that he will not be playing.

“Because in November I do not want to play tennis anymore. I think all the top guys will say the same thing.” Zverev told reporters in Shanghai on Wednesday.
“We have one-and-a-half months off in our season, and that’s the end of November and December. Making a tournament at the end of November, which is ten days long and playing and competing, it’s crazy. I mean, by the end of the year, we are all tired.”

Zverev isn’t the only player to have reservations. The Times Newspaper has reported that both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are yet to commit to the event. It is understood that Serbia and Switzerland was initially on course to receive wildcards for next year’s final. However, the plan failed after both players didn’t give a definite answer about if they would play. Instead Great Britain and Argentina received the wildcards.

“I mean, for us as top players we had discussions, we had talks with ATP how to make the season shorter and not longer. No, it’s not happening, and I guarantee you I will not be the only one.” Zverev commented about playing in the Davis Cup.

The ITF has previously said that holding a week-long Davis Cup competition would help attract top players as they reduce the number of ties played throughout the year. Although this argument is under scrutiny after the ITF confirmed that they want to implement two new exhibition events during the year. A winner-takes-all event and a mixed team competition. Meaning that players who participate will be no better off with their scheduling.

As well as the Davis Cup, at the start of 2020 the ATP is planning to bring back the World Team Cup. Meaning that there will be less than two months separating the two events. The tournament will take place across Australian with prize money and ranking points up for grabs.

The 2019 Davis Cup finals will be hosted in Madrid at the Caja Magica. It will take place from November 18-24.

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Davis Cup

Jim Courier Resigns As US Davis Cup Captain After Eight Years

The USTA have announced that Jim Courier has resigned as USA’s Davis Cup captain after eight years in charge.

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Jim Courier (zimbio.com)

After eight years in charge, Jim Courier has resigned as US Davis Cup captain according to a USTA statement following their 3-2 defeat to Croatia earlier this month. 

The former world number one has announced his resignation following eight years in charge where he lead USA to two Davis Cup semi-finals in 2012 and 2018.

The USTA announced the news on Thursday, with the ITF announcing earlier in the day that Madrid will host the first two editions of the Davis Cup Finals.

In a statement Courier announced that he told the team after their 3-2 defeat away to Croatia in September, “Following the matches with Croatia, I let the players and staff know this was my final year as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup Team,” Courier explained in a statement.

“It’s been my honour and privilege to represent the USTA and USA as a player and captain. I look forward to cheering the team on as they pursue the cup in its new format next year and beyond.”

The 48 year old leaves the American Davis Cup team in a good position having earned them automatic qualification for next year’s Davis Cup Finals.

USTA player development general manager, Martin Blackman, also released a statement explaining his gratitude towards Courier, “The role of Davis Cup captain requires an individual that embodies the character qualities of a Team USA champion and one who is willing to put the work in, to get the job done. Captain Courier fulfilled both roles and American tennis is all the better for it.”

The search for a new Davis Cup captain will begin with the new 18 team tournament beginning in November next year at the Caja Magica in Madrid.

 

 

 

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