Lleyton Hewitt Blasts ‘Ridiculous’ Davis Cup Format And Slams Kosmos Founder Gerard Pique - UBITENNIS
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Lleyton Hewitt Blasts ‘Ridiculous’ Davis Cup Format And Slams Kosmos Founder Gerard Pique

The former world No.1 has launched a fresh attack on the new format of the competition.

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Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt has voiced his anger at the team competition being ran by somebody who he says ‘knows nothing about tennis.’

 

The former world No.1 didn’t hold back ahead of his country’s upcoming meeting with Bosnia and Herzegovina this weekend. This year marks the start of the new Davis Cup format after it was passed at the ITF AGM meeting last August. The winners of the upcoming world group ties will qualify for the finals in November. For the first time in history, the finals will be a week-long event held in one location. Removing the 118-year tradition of home and away finals. A total of 18 teams will participate. The group will be made up of 12 qualifiers, two wild cards and the four semi-finalists from the previous year.

Speaking out about the changes, Hewitt has branded them as ‘ridiculous.’ Tennis Australia has been one of the most vocal critics of the changes throughout the entire process. The country has won the tournament 28 times. The second highest in history after America, who has won it on 32 occasions.

“I don’t agree at all with it. Having the finals in one place is ridiculous,” News Corp Australia quoted Hewitt as saying.
“I personally don’t think all the top players will play but we will wait and see.
“If you look at Davis Cup the last couple of years the elite players are playing.”
“ I have played in massive ties at home and away, but for me the most disappointing thing is guys like these — Bolty and Alex — (Alex Bolt and Alex de Minaur) will never get to play a Davis Cup final in Australia and that was one of the biggest joys I had in my career.” He added.

The changes have come to life with the help of a multi-million dollar investment from Kosmos. Who have pledged to invest $3 billion over the next 25 years. Kosmos was founded by footballer Gerard Pique, who currently plays for Barcelona F.C. The company also recently took over Spanish football team FC Andorra and has a television production company (Kosmos studios).

Pique’s involvement in the Davis Cup is something Hewitt describes as ‘mind boggling.’ Questioning the Spanish player’s ability to run the competition. Saying he ‘knows nothing’ about tennis.

“Personally, I think they will have to tweak the new format,” Hewitt explained.
“They have gone from one end of the spectrum to the other and they are going to have to deal with it.
“Now we are getting run by a Spanish football player and he knows nothing about tennis and that is ridiculous.
”He (Pique) is trying to (put tennis into a soccer format). His group has bought into the ITF and they are basically running the ITF — a soccer league is the main sponsor of the Davis Cup, and that to me is mind boggling.”

Pique has defended the revamped Davis Cup on numerous occasions. Players such as Alexander Zverev have previously confirmed their intention to skip the finals due to the scheduling of the event at the end of November. However, Pique has insisted that the focus is on teams and not individuals. Although, he had boasted about the support of Rafael Nadal.

“We want to focus on teams not individuals, on players representing their nation and their federation and on building the best teams possible,” he told reporters last year.
“We want the focus on the competition to be the teams, which is what it always has been. The Davis Cup has survived for 118 years because of the national teams, and because individual players haven’t been so important.
“I’ve spoken to all the players, Rafa has been very positive and now it will be in Madrid he likes it even more, he has told me if he is fit he will come.”

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

Davis Cup

Davis Cup Finals To Become Three-City Event From 2021

Austria and Italy join Spain in hosting the finale of the men’s team competition.

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The International Tennis Federation has approved a plan to transform the Davis Cup finals into a three-city event with it taking place over a longer duration.

 

Starting from 2021 the finals of the 121-year-old men’s team competition will be held across three European venues which are set to have ‘similar conditions.’ Madrid, who hosted the event back in 2019, will remain the location for both the semi-finals and finals. Additionally, Turin in Italy and Innsbruck in Austria will co-host the event with each of them staging two of the six groups, as well as one quarter-final.

The development is the latest change made by the ITF in partnership with Kosmos, who have pledged to invest $3 billion in the sport over a 25-year period. Kosmos is the key driving force being the recent transformation of the competition and was founded by footballer Gerard Pique.

“The proposals announced in January were aimed at providing a better schedule for players while bringing the competition to new audiences and improving the experience for fans. Following a thorough bid process, we are delighted to be able to confirm Innsbruck and Turin as co-hosts alongside Madrid. We are confident that, together, they will deliver an outstanding world championship event for players and fans alike.” ITF Senior Executive Director, Professional Tennis, Kris Dent, said in a statement.

As a result of Turin’s and Innsburk’s inclusion in the finals, the competition has been extended from seven days to 11 days. A total of 18 teams are set to take part in the finals which wasn’t held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From next year the number of teams will be reduced to 16. The ITF confirmed the schedule of tournaments will be issued in the ‘coming weeks.’

Former French Open champion Albert Costa says the two cities have been selected to ‘ensure a smooth transition’ between countries for players. Costa, who is Director of the Davis Cup Finals, has stressed that the conditions of each venue are similar to each other.

We are very excited to bring the Davis Cup Finals to Innsbruck and Turin. Both cities submitted impressive bids that not only promise a world class experience for players and fans, but also include stringent measures to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance,” said Costa.
“It was important to find two European cities that were well connected to Madrid, with similar playing conditions, to provide a smooth transition for players travelling from other venues. With confirmation of the three venues, we are already working hard to offer the best possible event in 2021. We are also liaising closely with the Region of Madrid and the City Council as thanks to their support, Madrid remains as the main venue for this year.”

There are questions about if the move will be enough to attract the top names. Due to the extension, the event will result in the off-season being reduced by a week. A key period for many players who used it for training.There are also questions about the decision to launch a multi-county tournament this year during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will each country having their own rules.

The Davis Cup finals are set to take place between November 25th and December 5th.

Venues of 2021 Davis Cup Finals

Madrid Arena, Madrid (ESP)

  • Group A: Spain, Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), Ecuador
  • Group B: Canada, Kazakhstan, Sweden
  • Quarter-finals: Winner Group A v group runner-up; Winner Group B v group runner-up
  • Semi-finals and final

Olympia-Halle, Innsbruck (AUT)

  • Group C: France, Great Britain, Czech Republic
  • Group F: Serbia, Germany, Austria
  • Quarter-final: Winner Group C v Winner Group F

Pala Alpitour Arena, Turin (ITA)

  • Group D: Croatia, Australia, Hungary
  • Group E: USA, Italy, Colombia
  • Quarter-final: Winner Group D v Winner Group E

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Davis Cup Finals To Be Extended To 11 Days But With Fewer Teams

One of the oldest tennis events in the world will be changed once again.

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The International Tennis Federation has approved a series of changes for the prestigious Davis Cup competition with the option of a multi-city finale on the cards.

 

In a bid to ‘ease the burden on players’ the ITF Board has extended the length of the Davis Cup finals from seven to 11 days. The move comes following the inaugural competition in 2019 when some ties went on until as late as 4am due to the scheduling. As a result of the change, this year’s finale is set to take place between November 25th – December 5th. Meaning that the competition will eat more into the off-season which players use to train for the following year.

Furthermore, from 2022 the number of teams playing in the finals will be reduced from 18 to 16. This year’s field will remain unchanged as the teams have already been decided. Both of these proposals were put forward by Kosmos, who is the main financial backer of the competition.

“We recognise that the most successful tournaments adapt and evolve over time, and while the inaugural Davis Cup Finals delivered fantastic tennis, it also provided some learnings,” tournament director Albert Costa said in a statement.
“We are committed to a long-term vision for this historic competition and are confident these adjustments will enhance the experience for players and fans.”

Discussions are also underway over the possibility of making the end-of-season team showdown a multi-city event. Kosmos wants to expand the number of hosts from one to three. Although details about how this will be done have not been disclosed and the ITF are yet to approve it. Supporters of the idea argue that it will make the event appeal to a wider audience.

“With large stadiums providing show courts for all ties, the introduction of a multi-city event will bring the competition to the widest possible audience, while we will also be able to ease the burden on players with improvements to the scheduling. Crucially, a revised schedule will allow us to avoid late finishes while providing more rest for players,” Costa commented.

Should the multi-city idea get the green light, Madrid will still host both the semi-finals and final of the event. Meanwhile the other two cities would each stage two group stages and one quarter-final. Interestingly Kosmos Tennis has already launched a bid to find cities despite their proposal not being approved yet.

The Davis Cup Finals will return later this year after the 2020 edition was forced to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Spain are the reigning champions.

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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.

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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.

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