Gerard Pique Responds To Criticism From Lleyton Hewitt Over His Involvement In Davis Cup - UBITENNIS
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Gerard Pique Responds To Criticism From Lleyton Hewitt Over His Involvement In Davis Cup

The 32-year-old is hoping that he can prove critics wrong with the new controversial format.

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Kosmos founder Gerard Pique has told The Daily Mail he ‘respects’ the opinion of Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, despite being heavily criticised by the former world No.1.

 

Pique is the head of the company that is overseeing the transformation of the Davis Cup. Later this year 18 teams will play in a week-long showdown that has been dubbed the ‘World Cup’ of tennis. The revamp, who was approved by a vote last August, has divided opinion within the sport. Australia has been one of the most vocal critics of the revamp with Hewitt taking aim at Pique last month.

“Now we’re getting run by a Spanish football player, which is like me come out and asking to change things for the Champions League,” Hewitt told reporters. “He knows nothing about tennis.”

Responding to the comment for the first time, Pique has tried to cool down the argument. Stating that he has no intention of ‘changing the rules of tennis.’ Although under the new format, Davis Cup matches are now best-of-three sets and the finals will see three matches played per tie instead of five.

“I respect the opinion of Lleyton, he was a great player. What I can say is that while I’m the President of Kosmos we are full of people who know tennis, people like Albert Costa, who has won a Grand Slam.” Pique told The Daily Mail.
“I can understand that when a footballer comes in the tennis world it can seem a little bit awkward or strange, but at the end of the day I’m not going to be changing the rules of tennis. I understand that I’m the new one here and I try to understand everyone. In the time we are living now it is easy to say whatever you think. If it’s with respect it’s fine.”

Kosmos has pledged to invest $3 billion into the new competition over the next 25 years. Their backers include Indian Wells Masters owner Larry Ellison, Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani and even football superstar Lionel Messi. As a result of Ellison’s involvement, Indian Wells have been mentioned as a strong candidate to hold the Davis Cup finals in the future. Although the logistics may be hard if the ATP Finals continues to be held in London. In the current schedule, the Davis Cup finale takes place straight after the ATP Finals.

“It is something we are talking about and it’s a possibility,” Pique commented about Indian Wells as a venue.
“You have pros and cons, we chose Madrid because it’s next to London. Indian Wells is far away but the facilities are incredible.”

Due to the involvement of the Barcelona F.C. footballer, the competition is referred by some as the ‘Pique Cup.’ Something that doesn’t go down too well with the 32-year-old.

“I hate it, because it’s not about me and I don’t want my name on the competition,” he said. “Davis Cup history is so big. I hope we can change this opinion. After a few years I hope they go back and say “We were wrong, Davis Cup is more alive than ever.”

The Davis Cup finals will be played between November 18-24.

Davis Cup

PREVIEW: Vasek Pospisil Looking To Lead Canada At Davis Cup Finals

The Canadian will look to lead his team one step further after reaching the final in Madrid back in 2019.

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MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23: Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2021 at Madrid Arena on November 23, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

It’s not an ideal situation when two of your best players decide not to play and represent their country but that is what has happened to Canada with both Felix Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov.

 

Both players citing the need for rest after a long and taxing season that literally gives them less than two months to rest and recuperate before the off-season preparations and a trip down under for the Australian tennis season.

Pospisil leads a team with Brayden Schnur, Peter Polansky and replacement Steven Diez. While on paper all players are ranked outside the top 100 Canada still has good chances of getting past the group stage.

In their way are Sweden and Kazakhstan. They will open their tournament on Thursday in Madrid against the Swedes before facing the Kazaks on Sunday morning at the Madrid Arena.

Once again two wins will be needed and it will be a busy week for Pospisil who will be called upon to play singles and doubles, which has been confirmed by team captain Frank Dancevic.

The million-dollar question is who will be Canada’s number two singles player and who will play with the Vernon, BC native? Dancevic is yet to confirm this.

Schnur was an alternate player on the team last time, Polansky wasn’t even called upon and it’s been 10 years since Diez even represented his country so the experience isn’t there.

But then again anything can happen in Davis Cup and looking at the other teams Sweden will use Elias and Mikael Ymer while Kazakhstan will rely on the highest-ranked player in the group Alexander Bublik with teammate Mikhael Kukushin.

It’s all to play for in the Spanish capital and Canada is coming off an incredible run in 2019 which ended up in them losing to Spain in the final where they were able to show the world they are here to play.

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Davis Cup

Canada suffers massive blow as Shapovalov, Auger-Aliassime pull out of Davis Cup

The two tennis stars cited fatigue and injury as the reason why they have chosen not to play in the team event.

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Canada will be without its top two players as they head to Madrid for the Davis Cup Finals.

 

After losing in the Stockholm Open final at the weekend, Denis Shapovalov made it official that he was pulling out of the Davis Cup Finals citing he needed to rest and take time off.

“Unfortunately, I will not take part in the Davis Cup Finals,” Shapovalov said in a statement. “It’s always a pleasure and an honor for me to represent my country in the Davis Cup, but I need some rest in the offseason.”

Shortly after Felix Auger Aliassime also released a statement confirming that he was pulling out as well due to a nagging injury and also stated he needed some time off as well.

So far Canada has only called up Steven Diez as a replacement for the team that currently has Vasek Pospisil, Peter Polansky, and Brayden Schnur. It is a massive blow for a team that looked like a heavy favorite.

Team captain Frank Dancevic also commentated on the situation by saying he understands why both players have decided not to play.

“We know that Félix and Denis have always made the Davis Cup one of their top priorities since the beginning of their professional careers, and even before that since they had won the Junior Davis Cup for Canada in 2015,” said Dancevic. “But it’s been a long and even more trying season due to the protocols and measures put in place to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and we completely understand their decision.’
We know that we can count on Félix and Denis’ support and leadership in the years to come. That said, we are delighted to have Steven (Diez) join us for the Finals. Although Steven doesn’t have much Davis Cup experience, he has proven time and time again that he’s an incredible team player and that he’s able to adapt to various situations.”

Diez, who is 30 years old, has only played Davis Cup once before which was 11 years ago back in 2010 in a Group 1 semi-final tie against Columbia. His career-high ranking was 134 in 2019 and his best result was making the final of an ATP Challenger event in Spain.

The Davis Cup Finals will be held in Madrid, Innsbruck, and Turin beginning on the 25th of November. Canada will be based in Madrid in a group with Sweden and Kazakhstan.

Canada faces Sweden on the 25th and Kazakhstan on the 28th of November. The last time around made the final back in 2019 before losing to Spain.

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Novak Djokovic Leads Quartet Of To 10 Players Set To Play Davis Cup Finals

Here is a full list of players who have been nominated to play in the team event next month.

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Novak Djokovic returns a shot during a Men's Singles quarterfinal match at the 2021 US Open, Wednesday, Sep. 8, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Jed Jacobsohn/USTA)

World No.1 Novak Djokovic will lead Serbia in the Davis Cup Finals once again after getting officially nominated for the event on Monday.

 

The 20-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match since losing in the final of the US Open but had previously expressed his desire to play in the team event. Djokovic will be the only top 20 player participating in Group F with both Austria and Germany missing their top players. Dominic Thiem is still recovering from injury and Alexander Zverev has said he would not play in protest of the changes made to the Davis Cup in recent years.

Djokovic, who has won three out of the four major events this season, is expected to play in both the Paris Masters and ATP Finals prior to the Davis Cup. He was instrumental in guiding his country to glory in the team competition back in 2010 which was the first and only time they have won the title.

Russia boasts a strong team with both US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and world No.6 Andrey Rublev getting the nod. Making them the only team in the event to feature two top 10 players. Unlike other countries, they will be called the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) in the tournament. This is due to a previous WADA and CAS ruling against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency over the country’s involvement in state-sponsored doping during multiple Olympic Games.

Italy, who hasn’t won the Davis Cup since 1976, will be headlined by Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini. Joining him in the team will be Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Sonego, Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti. The Italians have the advantage of playing their group ties on home ground in Turin which is the same city which will hold the ATP Finals. They will take on America and Colombia.

It is possible that some nominations for the Davis Cup could change in the coming weeks. French captain Sebastien Grosjean told reporters that it is possible he may include Gael Monfils in the team should he produce some good results on the Tour. Meanwhile, Andy Murray isn’t ruling out taking part.

“Never say never, maybe I could be convinced to play,” The Times newspaper quoted Murray as saying on Monday.

The Davis Cup Finals will take place between November 25 – December 5th. The group and quarter-finals ties will be held across Europe in Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck. Then the semi-finals and final will be held in Madrid. Each Group tie will consist of three matches – two singles and one doubles.

Tournament schedule

source – www.daviscupfinals.com

List of team nominations

Group A – Madrid, Spain

Spain
Pablo Carreno Busta
Roberto Bautista Agut
Carlos Alcaraz
Feliciano Lopez
Marcel Granollers
Captain: Sergi Bruguera

RTF
Daniil Medvedev
Andrey Rublev
Aslan Karatsev
Karen Khachanov
Evgeny Donskoy
Captain: Shamil Tarpischev

Ecuador
Emilio Gomez
Roberto Quiroz
Diego Hidalgo
Gonzalo Escobar
Cayetano March
Captain: Raul Viver

Group B – Madrid, Spain

Canada
Felix Auger-Aliassime
Denis Shapovalov
Vasek Pospisil
Brayden Schnur
Peter Polansky
Captain: Frank Dancevic

Kazakhstan
Alexander Bublik
Mikhail Kukushkin
Dmitry Popko
Aleksandr Nedovyesov
Andrey Golubev
Captain: Yuriy Schukin

Sweden
Mikael Ymer
Elias Ymer
Jonathan Mridha
Andre Goransson
Captain: Robin Soderling

Group C – Innsbruck, Austria

France
Ugo Humbert
Arthur Rinderknech
Richard Gasquet
Pierre-Hugues Herbert
Nicolas Mahut
Captain: Sebastien Grosjean

Great Britain
Cameron Norrie
Daniel Evans
Joe Salisbury
Neal Skupski
Captain: Leon Smith

Czech Republic
Jiri Vesely
Tomas Machac
Zdenek Kolar
Jiri Lehecka
Lukas Rosol
Captain: Jaroslav Navratil

Group D – Turin, Italy

Croatia
Marin Cilic
Borna Coric
Borna Gojo
Nikola Mektic
Mate Pavic
Captain: Vedran Martic

Australia
Alex de Minaur
John Millman
Jordan Thompson
Alexei Popyrin
John Peers
Captain: Lleyton Hewitt

Hungary
Marton Fucsovics
Attila Balazs
Zsombor Marozsan
Mate Valkusz
Captain: Gabor Koves

Group E – Turin, Italy

USA
John Isner
Reilly Opelka
Taylor Fritz
Jack Sock
Rajeev Ram
Captain: Mardy Fish

Italy
Matteo Berrettini
Jannik Sinner
Lorenzo Sonego
Fabio Fognini
Lorenzo Musetti
Captain: Filippo Volandri

Colombia
Daniel Galan
Nicolas Mejia
Juan Sebastian Cabal
Robert Farah
Captain: Alejandro Falla

Group F – Innsbruck, Austria

Serbia
Novak Djokovic
Filip Krajinovic
Dusan Lajovic
Laslo Djere
Miomir Kecmanovic
Captain: Viktor Troicki

Germany
Jan Lennard Struff
Dominik Koepfer
Peter Gojowczyk
Kevin Krawietz
Tim Puetz
Captain: Michael Kohlmann

Austria
Dennis Novak
Jurij Rodionov
Gerald Melzer
Oliver Marach
Philipp Oswald
Captain: Stefan Koube

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