The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is facing another nightmare after it has emerged that Novak Djokovic is talking with players behind the scenes about changing the rules regarding the Olympic Qualification.
The world No.1 is reportedly among a group of players unhappy about the current criteria that players have to go through in order to play at the sporting extravaganza, which will next take place in 2020. At present, players are only eligible if they are part of a nominated Davis Cup team and are present at the tie on three occasions, with one of those occurring in 2019 or 2020. If a player has featured in at least 20 ties during their career, the requirement is reduced to two. The same rule applies to the women’s tour.
It has been reported that Djokovic is working to adjust those rules prior to the 2020 summer games, which will be held in Tokyo. In a recent interview with The Source Podcast, the coach of Kyle Edmund has said that the world No.1 has sent the British player a letter calling for a change.
“Kyle received an email, and maybe it has nothing to do with the Davis Cup, but Kyle received an email from Djokovic last week.” Said Edmund’s coach Fredrik Rosengren.
“He (Djokovic) wants to boycott that particular rule. That shows he doesn’t want to play the Davis Cup in order to represent his country at the Olympic Games.”
The timing of the calls come as the Davis Cup enters into a new format from next year. In November the final of the competition will be transformed into a week-long event. Held in Madrid, a total of 18 teams will take part. A move that has caused anger among some, including the French Davis Cup team.
Any move to completely remove the Olympic eligibility criteria from the Davis Cup will be likely opposed by the ITF. Who relies on that rule in order to attract the big names. Something they will rely upon more in the future, given the fallout caused by the revamp of the competition.
Djokovic has not publicly spoken about the alleged letter that he has sent to his fellow players. During the ATP Finals, he was present at a special ceremony to mark the launch of The World Team Cup. Another team competition that will take place at the start of the year from 2020 onwards. During the tournament, Djokovic said he believes that one day both the Davis Cup and Team Cup could merge into one. Echoing similar comments recently made by ITF president David Haggerty.
“I think in the next two years we’ll have both events happening in a very similar format if not the same, six weeks apart. Whether I think that’s good for our sport, I honestly don’t think it’s good for the sport.” said Djokovic.
“More job opportunities for players, yes. But I think it’s not sustainable. It will happen that we will have two average events. So I think creating one event is an ideal scenario and I think the outcome for everyone.
“From what I’ve heard from conversations with people from all of the sides, different sides in this sport, they all want to have one event because it’s over-saturated with different cups, different events.”
The ITF has made no comment about Djokovic’s letter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dominic Thiem hopes that tennis will get back to normal in 2020
Andrea Gaudenzi thinks that tennis will survive the retirement of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic
Francesca Jones reaches the Australian Open main draw despite a rare genetic impairment
Dayana Yastremska Heads To Australia Despite Doping Violation
No Special Treatment For Andy Murray, Says Australian Government
Ion Tiriac Launches Fresh Tirade Against Serena Williams
Fitness Not The Reason Behind Roger Federer’s Australian Open Withdrawal, Says Official
Australian Open Champion Sofia Kenin Loses Management Contract
Novak Djokovic Hits The Magical 300 Mark As He Closes In On Federer’s No.1 Record
EXCLUSIVE: How Matt Roberts Became One Of The Voices Behind The Tennis Podcast
Steve Flink: “Medvedev Deserved To Win, But Is This Really The Onset Of A New Era?”
Steve Flink On The Decline Of American Men’s Tennis: “We Need To Start Attracting The Best Athletes Again”
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is inhuman. He can play three or four more years and retire with Djokovic”
Scanagatta And Flink: “We Both Think Djokovic Will Win The French Open, So Nadal Will Definitely Pull It Off!”
Steve Flink: “Djokovic Will Be Happy About The French Open Draw”
Hot Topics2 days ago
Dominic Thiem Heads To Australia Without Coach Massu After Positive COVID-19 Test
Hot Topics1 day ago
Andy Murry Tests Positive For COVID-19, Australian Open Hopes In Doubt
Hot Topics13 hours ago
No Special Treatment For Andy Murray, Says Australian Government
ATP2 days ago
Cristian Garin Out Of Australian Open Following Fall
Hot Topics3 days ago
Sebastian Korda Breaks New Ground In Delray Beach
Latest news3 days ago
Veronika Kudemertova edges Marta Kostyuk to set up Abu Dhabi final against Aryna Sabalenka
ATP1 day ago
Hubert Hurkacz Aims To Build On Delray Beach Triumph
Focus2 days ago
Unstoppable Aryna Sabalenka Storms To Abu Dhabi Title