A war of words over the proposed changes to the Davis Cup is intensifying with European officials and associations casting doubts over the legitimacy on the plan.
Later this week a vote will take place at the annual ITF AGM meeting over the proposal. The ITF has set out their vision of implementing a 18-team tournament that takes place over one week at the end of the year. Consisting of 12 qualifiers, the previous year’s four semifinalists and two wild card nations. Unlike the current format, the finals will be held at a neutral venue and best-of-five set matches will be scrapped. Investment company Kosmos, which is owned by Barcelona F.C. footballer Gerard Pique, has pledged to invest $3 billion over 25 years if approved.
At a glance the injection of finance appears like a win-win situation for the ITF. The Davis Cup is in need of financial support and they have somebody willing to assist them. The only problem is that concerns have been raised over the reliability of Kosmos’ financial pledge and the impact it may have.
“When you come to the point when a “reform” is not a reform any more, but rather sees financial goals as its principal objective – that is where the troubles will start.” Tennis Europe vice president Attila Richter told Telegraf.rs on Monday.
“When the matter of funding of proposed Davis Cup reforms is in question – once the initial awe with the huge quoted sums has subsided and the breakdown was analyzed in closer detail – a considerable shortcoming has been detected, which would actually see the majority of national federations receiving insufficient money from the competition in order to maintain their role as sole developers of the game of tennis in their communities worldwide.” He later added.
Tennis Europe has already voiced their opposition to the new Davis Cup last week. Its president, Vladimir Dmitriev, wrote in a letter to 50 European tennis federations that he ‘cannot see the real benefit for European nations or for tennis in general.’
The ITF has worked relentlessly to try to reassure its critics that the deal is the best for the team competition, which started back in 1900. Insisting that it will benefit federations across the world. Although for some nations, it is the tradition of the event that means the most to them.
“There’s a real risk for the Davis Cup, that this competition will be reduced to an ordinary meeting in front of a public without real knowledge of the game.” The Belgian Tennis Federation said in a statement.
“This new Davis Cup will resemble more of an Olympic Games without medals, a Hopman Cup which lacks a special atmosphere or the late world tennis cup without much encouragement, because of the lack of popular interest behind it.”
Dirk Hordorff, who is the vice-president of the German Tennis Federation, was more blunt in his words. During an interview with BBC Sport, he has accused the ITF of trying to ‘kill’ the event. It is understood that the ITF has held meetings with the German federation in recent weeks, but it is unclear if they will vote for or against the revamp.
“It will kill the Davis Cup,” Hordorff told the BBC.
“You cannot make an event which is more or less an exhibition, after the Masters in November, and expect the players to come,” he added.
“We all know how many players are injured and unavailable to play in the Masters, so to have another event after that doesn’t make any sense if you want to have the players.”
Poland is another country concerned about the changes. Victor Artuchowski, who is the vice-president of the Polish Tennis Federation, said that a member of his federation was told to vote in favour of the deal otherwise ‘the ITF will be bankrupt.’ There has been talk in recent weeks about the Davis Cup struggling financially, but no substantial evidence to back that theory has come to light. A Source from the Polish Federation has indicated to Ubitennis that the country will vote against the proposal. Along with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, who are likely to oppose the changes according to another source.
There is some positivity from certain European members. One of the biggest backers of the plan is France’s Bernard Giudicelli, who is the president of his country’s federation. Even though both Yannick Noah and Amalie Mauresmo has spoken against it. Mauresmo is the current French Davis Cup captain.
In Great Britain, they are yet to make a decision of what they will vote. Although Stuart Fraser from The Times has reported that the LTA is ‘leaning towards the proposal.’ A significant win for the ITF if true. The country is one of five countries to have a maximum of 12 votes. Along with Australia (voting against), France (voting for), Germany (unknown) and the USA (voting for).
A vote on the Davis Cup revamp will take place on Thursday. It requires two thirds of the votes in order for it to be approved.
Later this week Ubitennis will be publishing an exclusive article about the purposed Davis Cup changes with views from both journalists and tennis federations.
Russia And Canada Complete ATP Cup Semi-Final Line-Up
Russia and Canada will meet in the ATP Cup semi-finals on Saturday.
Russia and Canada booked their spots in the semi-finals of the ATP Cup on Thursday.
Russia completed their group stage campaign with a 2-1 victory over Italy in Group B.
The match was a winners take all clash with the Italians making the perfect start as Jannik Sinner defeated Roman Safiullin 7-6(8) 6-3.
However world number two Daniil Medvedev levelled the tie in a hard-fought victory over Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.
Medvedev needed 2 hours and 40 minutes to edge out Berrettini 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4 to put Russia level with Italy.
Then all four singles players returned for the doubles which the Russians won 5-7 6-4 10-5 in a tense contest.
This saw Russia book a place in the last four and after the match Medvedev spoke about the importance of his win over Berrettini, “The first set I was in control and it’s tricky because you think that things will continue to go your way but that’s not the case when you’re up against a Top 10 player,” Medvedev told the ATP Cup website.
“I made some bad decisions in the second set so I tried to learn from that in the third. I served well throughout the match and that helped me.”
Russia will now face Canada in the last four on Saturday after Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime both secured singles wins over Germany.
Shapovalov edged out Struff in three sets to give Canada the lead and then Felix Auger-Aliassime scored a huge victory over Olympic champion Alexander Zverev 6-4 4-6 6-3.
This meant that Canada denied Great Britain a place in the semis after the Brits beat USA 2-1 earlier in the day. The other result saw Australia beat France 2-1.
Russia and Canada will meet in Sydney on Saturday while tomorrow Poland will face Spain.
Canada gets first win at ATP Cup after comeback victory over Great Britain
Felix Auger-Aliassime inspired Canada to victory against Great Britain at the ATP Cup.
Team Canada got its first win of the tournament when they beat Team Great Britain 2-1 and it all came down to the doubles match.
Evans eases by Shapovalov
Dan Evans got the first point of the tie as he had no issues getting by Denis Shapovalov beating him in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes serving four aces and winning 88% of his first-serve points.
The first six games of the opening set stayed on serve and it was the Brit who earned the first breakpoint of the match and broke the Canadian and that one break of serve proved crucial as he took the first set,
Evans carried the momentum into the second set and it looked like the Canadian was still easing his way into his game and he broke him early in the set to take an early 2-1 lead.
Again that one break of serve was all the Brit needed to serve out the set and the match and give the first point to Team Great Britan.
Auger Aliassime responds for Canada
Felix Auger Aliassime responded for Canada beating Cameron Norrie in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-3 in two hours serving eight aces, and winning 85% of his points on his first serve.
The first set was a battle as these two players know each other well and the last time they met was a three-set marathon match in Vienna with the Canadian getting the win.
The Montreal native got the first chance to break at 4-3 and took it for a 5-3 lead and a chance to serve out the first set. When serving for it the Canadian got tight and Norrie made him pay by breaking him right back.
The first set was decided by a tiebreaker and the world number 11 won the first six points of the breaker and took the first set.
Winning the first set gave the Canadian the momentum he needed and he broke the Britt early in the second set in the second game and that one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match.
This meant the doubles match was going to decide the winner of the tie.
Canada wins deciding doubles
With the tie level at 1-1, the winner was decided by the third and final doubles match and it was Auger Aliassime and Shapovalov beating the British duo of Jamie Murray and Joe Salsbury.
A 6-4, 6-1 win in one hour and 10 minutes with the Canadians serving seven aces and winning 83% of their points off the first served ensured that all teams in the group now have a record of 1-1.
Davis Cup Champions Russia Banned From Hosting Ties In 2022
The newly crowned champions will not be allowed the opportunity to potentially play some of their matches next year at home due to a ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The bidding process for host cities of the 2022 Davis Cup Finals will get underway in the coming weeks but Russia will not be allowed to take part.
Last week Daniil Medvedev led his country to victory over Croatia in the final to give Russia, who were playing under the name of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), only their third title in the prestigious team event which was founded back in 1900. In this year’s finals, they also beat Germany, Sweden, Ecuador and Spain en route to the title.
Next year’s tournament is once again set to be a first in the Davis Cup history after organisers confirmed that the finals will be staged across a total of five cities. During a recent press conference, the International Tennis Federation and investment company Kosmos say they plan to stage each of the four groups in separate cities and a fifth city hosting the knockout stages. The name of those hosts has not been announced but it is widely speculated that the Middle East may hold the knockout stages. The number of teams in the finals will be cut from 18 to 16.
However, Russia will not be allowed to stage a tie in 2022 but will be free to do so from the following year. This is because the country is currently banned from international competition for doping violations. An extensive investigation discovered multiple incidents of illegal doping practices by Russian officials at various Olympic Games but tennis have never been implicated in the scandal. As a result the World Anti-Doping Agency, which the International Tennis Federation is a member of, handed Russia a ban. This is why Medvedev and his team played under their federation name and not their country.
The ITF has confirmed to UbiTennis that the ban is in force until December 16th 2022 which is after the 2022 Finals.
“The ban remains in place for two years and that includes Russia hosting any WADA listed world competitions or world cup tournaments/competition events, and when competing outside of Russia the use of their national name, insignia, emblems and anthem are banned throughout this same period,” an ITF spokesperson told UbiTennis.
Kosmos, who are the main financial driving force behind the Davis Cup, had previously said they hope to select cities on a contract basis lasting ‘three to five years.’ However, they also want to maintain that every host city belongs to a country playing in the Finals which complicates matters somewhat. It is possible that Italy could be selected as a host for a three-year period but if they fail to qualify in one of those years, they may lose their hosting rights.
“It can happen that you have an agreement with a city or country, then the home team is not classified (qualified). That’s why we need to have multi-agreements, plus backup options, for fixing the possibility of not being classified,” Kosmos president Enrique Rojas recently told reporters.
The process for selecting the host cities will begin in January with interested candidates having six weeks to present their proposals. A final decision is then expected to be made round mid-Match.
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