Days Before A Key Vote On Davis Cup Reform, Anger From Europe Mounts - UBITENNIS
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Days Before A Key Vote On Davis Cup Reform, Anger From Europe Mounts

The future of the 118-year-old event will be decided later this week amid a division amongst European tennis federations in the sport.

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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 traditionalists

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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.”

Financial problems?

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.

Davis Cup

Spain to face Russia and Ecuador in Davis Cup Finals next November

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The draw of the 2020 Davis Cup Finals in Madrid took place at the ITF offices in London on 12th March. The Davis Cup Finals will begin in Madrid on 23rd November 2020.

 

Defending champions Spain has been drawn in the Group A against Russia and Ecuador. Last year Rafael Nadal guided the Spanish team to the triumph in the final against Canada at the Caja Magica.

This year’s ATP Cup champions Serbia will face Germany and Austria in a Group A, which features three top 10 players Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev. Djokovic beat Thiem in this year’s final of the Australian Open.

In the Group E the USA will take on Italy in a re-match of last year’s late round-robin match. These two teams were drawn against Colombia.Last year’s finalists Canada will meet Sweden and Kazakhstan.

Three former Davis Cup champions France, Great Britain and Czech Republic have been drawn in Group C.

 

Croatia will clash against Australia and Hungary in Group D.

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Davis Cup

John Millman Praises ‘Special’ Atmosphere After Australia’s Davis Cup Triumph

John Millman praised the ‘special’ Davis Cup atmosphere in Adelaide after their 3-1 win over Brazil.

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John Millman and Lleyton Hewitt (@TennisAustralia - Twitter)

John Millman praised the ‘special’ Davis Cup atmosphere in Adelaide this weekend after Australia booked their spot in the Davis Cup Finals. 

 

As Australia headed into the second day with a 2-0 advantage, many people expected a comfortable 3-0 win for the hosts but that turned out not to be the case.

Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligini Rodrigues Alves gave Brazil hope after an epic 2 hour and 54 minute win over James Duckworth and John Peers.

A 5-7 7-5 7-6(6) victory for the Brazilians saw the tie taken into a fourth rubber as John Millman knew he had to step up to seal victory for the Aussies.

Another sensational match as Millman battled past Thiago Monteiro 6-7(6) 7-6(3) 7-6(3) to secure a thrilling win and Australia’s place in November’s Davis Cup Finals.

After sealing the win, Millman praised the special atmosphere in Adelaide over the two days, “To have an experience like this, that’s better than just about any experience I’ve had,” Millman told Tennis Australia.

“It was something pretty special this weekend. I enjoyed every second of it. It was so much fun. It was an emotional rollercoaster and we’re so happy to get through. To do it with these boys, it’s been a really special week.”

As for captain Lleyton Hewitt, this win typified what he loves about the home and away format that the Davis Cup Qualifiers shows, “There were ebbs and flows in all the matches. It could have gone either way,” Hewitt said.

“That is what Davis Cup is about and that’s why I love the home and away format. To have the atmosphere and the crowd involvement, it was a lot of fun for us to be out there.

“For these guys to play in front of their home fans again, they don’t get to do it throughout the year that often. I’m just thrilled for them that they get to enjoy it and be part of it. It is something really special.”

Next for Hewitt and his Australian team will be the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, where they will join last year’s semi-finalists Spain, Canada, Great Britain and Russia as well as wildcards Serbia and France.

Also qualifying for November’s showpiece were Ecuador and Kazakhstan after their respective wins over Japan and the Netherlands.

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Davis Cup

Kei Nishikori Out Of Davis Cup In Latest Blow To Japan

More bad news for fans of the injury-stricken player.

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Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori has hinted that he may not be able to return to the tour until the clay season after withdrawing from his country’s upcoming Davis Cup tie against Ecuador.

 

Nishikori, who is currently ranked 31st in the world, had been in Miki training ahead of his country’s clash in the team competition. Raising hopes that he will be making a return this weekend. However, he has now confirmed that he is not fully at the level he needs to be to play. The 30-year-old hasn’t played a competitive match since September after undergoing surgery on his right elbow.

“Physically I’m not at my max.” AFP news quoted Nishikori as saying on Thursday.
“I want to return to competition after I improve my strength and become fully confident.
“It might be after Miami or during the clay season,” he added.

Japan will now enter their tie without their two top ranked players on the tour. Another notable absentee is world No.48 Yoshihito Nishioka, who has pulled out of the competition over coronavirus concerns. Yesterday the country recorded it’s 1000th infection of the illness, which is also known as Covid-19. The outbreak has affected many public events in Japan, but officials are confident that this year’s Olympic Games will go ahead as planned.

As a result of the outbreak, the Davis Cup clash will take place behind closed doors. The decision was jointly made between the ITF, Japanese Tennis Association and the country’s government. Baseball matches in the country have also been played without a crowd and the football J-League has been postponed.

“I am grateful just to be held while many sports are being cancelled.” Yasutaka Uchiyama told reporters.
“I want to get results firmly for the fans who support me in front of the TV. ”

Uchiyama and Go Soeda will be the two players who are playing singles in the tie against Ecuador instead of Nishikori and Nishioka.

Another Davis Cup tie affected by the Coronavirus is Italy’s home tie with South Korea. The government announced on Wednesday that all sporting fixtures will be played behind closed doors until April 3rd. Italy is the worst affected country in Europe with more than 3000 cases.

During a recent interview with Ubitennis, the ITF has said that are monitoring the threat posed by Covid-19 to their tournaments on a ‘case by case’ basis and are liaising with the relevant authorities. The ITF is the body which runs the Davis Cup.

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