The man in charge of overseeing this year’s Davis Cup Finals has warned that players have no option but to get used to the current format.
Former world No.7 Fernando Verdasco is the tournament director of the 2021 Davis Cup Finals which is being held across three European cities. The Spaniard has taken over from Albert Costa who has withdrawn from his position this year due to personal reasons. This is only the second season where the new format of the competition has taken place with its season-ending finals featuring 18 teams playing in a week-long tournament. Last year’s Davis Cup was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overseeing the running of the competition is investment company Kosmos who has pledged to invest $3bn over a 25-year period. However, they have been accused by some of destroying the event. Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt has said organisers are ‘selling the soul’ of the Davis Cup.
Responding to the criticism during an interview with Eurosport, Verdasco claimed that all players wanted the revamp due the Tour calendar. Saying that many found it hard to travel to various countries during different parts of the year under the old format.
“When I played the Davis Cup, all the players complained, asking for this new format, we wanted a Davis Cup of ten days at the end of the season and not have to play four qualifiers spread throughout the year,” he said. “Sometimes you went from playing the Australian Open, to playing indoors to Belarus and then to South America on clay. In three weeks you were playing on three different surfaces, the worst for a player.’
“The factor of playing at home or playing outside was very good, in a stadium of 8,000 people you had the public with you or you had it against you, that made it special. But if we talk about the calendar, we all asked for this format.”
Nevertheless, there continues to be criticism from some which Verdasco puts down to ‘being human.’ He insisted that both the International Tennis Federation and Kosmos are ‘working hard’ to keep the tradition of home and away ties alongside the season-ending finale.
“Many people are used to the old tradition and that is why they do not approve of this new format. (Alexander) Zverev, for example, is one of those who has said that he dreamed of winning the Davis Cup for a lifetime … but things evolve, just as there was no Hawkeye before and now there is. We will all have to get used to it, there is no other choice.” Verdasco stated.
Next year it has been reported that the Finals will be heading to Abu Dhabi as part of a new five-year deal. Although there is confusion about how this will take place with conflicting reports. The Telegraph had originally reported that the plan was for a series of European cities to host the group stages of the finals with the eight qualified teams flying to the UAE. But now it appears those plans are in doubt due to the logistical challenges it poses.
The prospect of moving the Davis Cup to Abu Dhabi is a controversial one for some. The region does not have a rich Davis Cup history and no team there is currently ranked inside the top 70. Some are concerned that the usual army of fans cheering on their teams will be unable or unwilling to travel to the region. Then there is the question about how the city will be able to maintain a strong attendance with the FIFA World Cup taking place at the same time in nearby Qatar.
“I honestly do not think that everything should be held in places with tradition, all countries have the right to have competitions such as the Davis Cup, a World Cup or a Big prize,” said Verdasco. “I know that there have been many comments that it will be in Abu Dhabi, although it is not official yet, what is a reality is that it will go from being a competition of 16 teams and not 18. And instead of groups of three, they will be groups of four. Now it remains to be seen how many host venues there will be, apart from where the Final Phase is played. I like these changes.”
It is expected that more information about the 2022 Davis Cup Finals will be released on Sunday during an online press conference with the media. The event was set to take place in person at a hotel in Madrid but got cancelled on Thursday for unknown reasons.
Russia And Canada Complete ATP Cup Semi-Final Line-Up
Russia and Canada will meet in the ATP Cup semi-finals on Saturday.
Russia and Canada booked their spots in the semi-finals of the ATP Cup on Thursday.
Russia completed their group stage campaign with a 2-1 victory over Italy in Group B.
The match was a winners take all clash with the Italians making the perfect start as Jannik Sinner defeated Roman Safiullin 7-6(8) 6-3.
However world number two Daniil Medvedev levelled the tie in a hard-fought victory over Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.
Medvedev needed 2 hours and 40 minutes to edge out Berrettini 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4 to put Russia level with Italy.
Then all four singles players returned for the doubles which the Russians won 5-7 6-4 10-5 in a tense contest.
This saw Russia book a place in the last four and after the match Medvedev spoke about the importance of his win over Berrettini, “The first set I was in control and it’s tricky because you think that things will continue to go your way but that’s not the case when you’re up against a Top 10 player,” Medvedev told the ATP Cup website.
“I made some bad decisions in the second set so I tried to learn from that in the third. I served well throughout the match and that helped me.”
Russia will now face Canada in the last four on Saturday after Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime both secured singles wins over Germany.
Shapovalov edged out Struff in three sets to give Canada the lead and then Felix Auger-Aliassime scored a huge victory over Olympic champion Alexander Zverev 6-4 4-6 6-3.
This meant that Canada denied Great Britain a place in the semis after the Brits beat USA 2-1 earlier in the day. The other result saw Australia beat France 2-1.
Russia and Canada will meet in Sydney on Saturday while tomorrow Poland will face Spain.
Canada gets first win at ATP Cup after comeback victory over Great Britain
Felix Auger-Aliassime inspired Canada to victory against Great Britain at the ATP Cup.
Team Canada got its first win of the tournament when they beat Team Great Britain 2-1 and it all came down to the doubles match.
Evans eases by Shapovalov
Dan Evans got the first point of the tie as he had no issues getting by Denis Shapovalov beating him in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes serving four aces and winning 88% of his first-serve points.
The first six games of the opening set stayed on serve and it was the Brit who earned the first breakpoint of the match and broke the Canadian and that one break of serve proved crucial as he took the first set,
Evans carried the momentum into the second set and it looked like the Canadian was still easing his way into his game and he broke him early in the set to take an early 2-1 lead.
Again that one break of serve was all the Brit needed to serve out the set and the match and give the first point to Team Great Britan.
Auger Aliassime responds for Canada
Felix Auger Aliassime responded for Canada beating Cameron Norrie in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-3 in two hours serving eight aces, and winning 85% of his points on his first serve.
The first set was a battle as these two players know each other well and the last time they met was a three-set marathon match in Vienna with the Canadian getting the win.
The Montreal native got the first chance to break at 4-3 and took it for a 5-3 lead and a chance to serve out the first set. When serving for it the Canadian got tight and Norrie made him pay by breaking him right back.
The first set was decided by a tiebreaker and the world number 11 won the first six points of the breaker and took the first set.
Winning the first set gave the Canadian the momentum he needed and he broke the Britt early in the second set in the second game and that one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match.
This meant the doubles match was going to decide the winner of the tie.
Canada wins deciding doubles
With the tie level at 1-1, the winner was decided by the third and final doubles match and it was Auger Aliassime and Shapovalov beating the British duo of Jamie Murray and Joe Salsbury.
A 6-4, 6-1 win in one hour and 10 minutes with the Canadians serving seven aces and winning 83% of their points off the first served ensured that all teams in the group now have a record of 1-1.
Davis Cup Champions Russia Banned From Hosting Ties In 2022
The newly crowned champions will not be allowed the opportunity to potentially play some of their matches next year at home due to a ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The bidding process for host cities of the 2022 Davis Cup Finals will get underway in the coming weeks but Russia will not be allowed to take part.
Last week Daniil Medvedev led his country to victory over Croatia in the final to give Russia, who were playing under the name of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), only their third title in the prestigious team event which was founded back in 1900. In this year’s finals, they also beat Germany, Sweden, Ecuador and Spain en route to the title.
Next year’s tournament is once again set to be a first in the Davis Cup history after organisers confirmed that the finals will be staged across a total of five cities. During a recent press conference, the International Tennis Federation and investment company Kosmos say they plan to stage each of the four groups in separate cities and a fifth city hosting the knockout stages. The name of those hosts has not been announced but it is widely speculated that the Middle East may hold the knockout stages. The number of teams in the finals will be cut from 18 to 16.
However, Russia will not be allowed to stage a tie in 2022 but will be free to do so from the following year. This is because the country is currently banned from international competition for doping violations. An extensive investigation discovered multiple incidents of illegal doping practices by Russian officials at various Olympic Games but tennis have never been implicated in the scandal. As a result the World Anti-Doping Agency, which the International Tennis Federation is a member of, handed Russia a ban. This is why Medvedev and his team played under their federation name and not their country.
The ITF has confirmed to UbiTennis that the ban is in force until December 16th 2022 which is after the 2022 Finals.
“The ban remains in place for two years and that includes Russia hosting any WADA listed world competitions or world cup tournaments/competition events, and when competing outside of Russia the use of their national name, insignia, emblems and anthem are banned throughout this same period,” an ITF spokesperson told UbiTennis.
Kosmos, who are the main financial driving force behind the Davis Cup, had previously said they hope to select cities on a contract basis lasting ‘three to five years.’ However, they also want to maintain that every host city belongs to a country playing in the Finals which complicates matters somewhat. It is possible that Italy could be selected as a host for a three-year period but if they fail to qualify in one of those years, they may lose their hosting rights.
“It can happen that you have an agreement with a city or country, then the home team is not classified (qualified). That’s why we need to have multi-agreements, plus backup options, for fixing the possibility of not being classified,” Kosmos president Enrique Rojas recently told reporters.
The process for selecting the host cities will begin in January with interested candidates having six weeks to present their proposals. A final decision is then expected to be made round mid-Match.
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