With The Backing Of Rafael Nadal, Gerard Pique Confident New Davis Cup Will Be A Hit - UBITENNIS
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With The Backing Of Rafael Nadal, Gerard Pique Confident New Davis Cup Will Be A Hit

One of the key driving forces behind the revamped competition has spoken out about the chances of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer playing.

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Kosmos founder Gerard Pique has played down fears over a series of high-profile players missing next year’s Davis Cup tournament by insisting that it is still possible that the world’s top three players may still feature.

 

Next season will be the start of the new-look Davis Cup competition. For the first time in history, the finals will feature 18 teams playing in a week-long tournament at the end of the year. The event will be hosted at the Caja Magica in Madrid. Removing the Davis Cup tradition of the finals being held either home or away. The initiative has come to life with the help of financial backing from Kosmos, who have pledged to invest $3 billion over the next 25 years.

“It is an honour to be here to present this great project, the Davis Cup,” Pique told reporters on Wednesday.
“I had a dream, say two or three years ago, to create a unique event in the world of tennis where players could represent their nations.”

The divisive plans have triggered a mixed response from some players due to the timing of the event. Roger Federer has previously hinted that he may not play in the competition in 2019 after saying the event is ‘not designed for him.’ Meanwhile, Germany’s Alexander Zverev have become the first top 10 player to publicly state that he will miss the Davis Cup finals.

“Because in November I do not want to play tennis anymore,” the world No.5 recently said about the Davis Cup.
“I think all the top guys will say the same thing. We have one and a half months off in our season, and that’s end of November and December.
“Making a tournament end of November which is 10 days playing and competing, it’s crazy.
“By the end of the year we are all tired.”

Will the star players commit?

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Despite the mixed response, Barcelona F.C. player Pique is confident that his plans will prove to be a hit. Saying the event focuses on the teams and not the individuals. A stance that was previously echoed by the CEO of Kosmos earlier this week. His confidence is aided with a pledged by 11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal. According to Pique, Nadal will play as long as he is fit to do so.

“Rafa Nadal has said he will come if he is not injured,” said Pique.
“With the number one, it is already more than enough.”

It is dubious if the presence of just Nadal will help silence critics. Novak Djokovic is yet to commit to the event, but he recently held talks with Pique at the Shanghai Masters. Djokovic, who is a member of the ATP Player Council, has previously said he rather play in the soon-to-be revived World Team Cup than the Davis Cup. From January 2020, the ATP will bring back the World Team Cup with both prize money and ranking points available.

“He did not say he was not coming, he said if he agreed with the ATP he would go to the ATP tournament,” Pique commented on Djokovic’s presence.
“I talked a lot with him in Shanghai because he represents the players and he himself said that the Davis Cup is tennis history. I think we have to keep talking and we will surely reach an agreement.”

As for 20-time grand slam champion Federer, it is unclear as to what his future in the Davis cup will be. The Times newspaper had previously reported that Switzerland was offered a wild card to play in the Davis Cup finals, but it failed to occur because Federer didn’t commit to the event. The same was said to be the case for Serbia with Novak Djokovic. Great Britain and Argentina were the two countries awarded the wild cards.

“For many he (Federer) is the best of all time but in respect to the Davis Cup he hasn’t played it very much. If he wants to play that will be fantastic, we’ll open the door to him,” said Pique.
“If not, that’s fine. It will never be perfect. Because of his age he tends to prioritise emblematic tournaments, but his people haven’t closed the door. Also, Switzerland may not qualify.”

The 2019 Davis Cup finals will take place between November 18-24. It will be played on hard courts.

Davis Cup

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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Davis Cup

Gerard Pique’s Pessimistic Davis Cup Outlook Blasted By French Tennis Star

The football player has been urged to ‘put more energy’ in finding a solution for the event to take place in 2020.

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Kosmos founder Gerard Pique has come under fire over his plans for the Davis Cup Finals later this year after recently casting doubt on the event taking place due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

Pique, whose company helped finance the transformation of the 120-year-old team competition, recently admitted that he was doubtful that the event could go ahead if crowds weren’t allowed to attend. Last year was the first time the new format of the competition took place with 18 teams featuring in a week-long round-robin tournament which was won by host nation Spain.

“I’m a bit pessimistic, to have the Davis Cup with no fans is difficult,” Pique told Movistar.
“There is a lot of uncertainty. We are listening to what the sport’s ministry and the government are telling us about whether we’ll have the ability to have fans.”

All professional tennis tournaments have been suspended since March due to the Pandemic. Officials are hoping to be able to get the sport going again in August ahead of the US Open that is scheduled to take place. Although some have doubts about the chances of the Tour’s starting by then, including world No.43 John Millman.

Amid the ongoing uncertainty, French tennis star Nicolas Mahut has criticized Pique’s bleak outlook for this year’s Davis Cup finale. The 38-year-old has represented his country in 13 ties, including the 2018 final as well as the semifinals in two other years.

“We don’t have a lot of information. But as a player, you can just trust the official statements. And when I hear Pique, I’m extremely disappointed,” Mahut told L’Equipe.

Mahut has called on Pique to explore more options such as potentially relocating the event to another country if it would make it safer for the event to go ahead. Implying that he was his duty to do so after setting ‘to destroy the formula’ of the event. Critics of the revamp have accused Pique of ruining the traditional competition.

“I would like him to put as much energy into saving the Davis Cup that he has set up. That is to say, to find solutions for it to take place in Madrid or elsewhere, as he has set to destroy the formula that had been in place for over a hundred years,” he said,
“The message he sent through his statements, is: ” If Madrid is complicated and we cannot do it, well it cancels and I save some money. ” And it bothers me a lot compared to what has happened for more than a year. We don’t play with this competition. Maybe that suits it.”

Kosmos has signed a $3 billion 25-year deal with the ITF to acquire the rights for the Davis Cup Finals.

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Davis Cup

Davis Cup Finals In Doubt, Admits Gerard Pique

The Kosmos founder explains why he isn’t too optimistic about the team event going ahead later this year.

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MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 24: Crowds of peoples during of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2019 at Caja Magica on November 24, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Pedro Salado / Kosmos Tennis)

The chances of this year’s Davis Cup Finals taking place are still up in the air with one of the key figures involved in the competition openly saying that he is ‘pessimistic’ about its chances.

 

Football star Gerard Pique is one the driving forces behind the new format following a huge financial investment from his company Kosmos. Signing a 25-year deal with the International Tennis Federation worth in the region of $3 billion. Despite the significant investment, Pique admits that he has low hopes of the event taking place later this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All professional tennis tournaments have been halted since March.

“There is a lot of uncertainty, we try to be aware of what the government says regarding sports and to whether we can put spectators inside the Caja Magica,” Pique said during an interview with Movistar.
“I would say I am a bit pessimistic, because a Davis Cup without fans is difficult.
“I think that nobody at the moment has the certainty that we can put fans in or if it will have to be behind closed doors. As the days go by, I suppose we will have a little more clarity.”

Spain is currently in the process of relaxing some of their lockdown restrictions with tennis players being able to train at local facilities from next week. The country is following a four-stage plan with the hope that their premier La Liga football league will resume next month at some stage.

However, the issue for the Davis Cup is the limited number of fans that would be able to go to the tournament if it takes place. In more advanced stages of the plans, no more than 50 people can attend an indoor venue. Although the number could be increased by November, it will be a stark difference to 2019. Held at the Caja Magica, the total capacity of the premier court is 12,500 people.

Last year’s final saw Spain lift the title for the first time since 2011 after they defeated Canada in the final. The two teams are seeded third and sixth in this year’s draw.

The Davis Cup is scheduled to take place between November 23-29 in Madrid. The ATP, WTA and ITF will not restart their Tour’s until at least July 13th, however, there is speculation that the suspension will be extended in the coming weeks.

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