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

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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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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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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