Novak Djokovic has urged the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to sit down with players and discuss the future of the Davis Cup amid concerns about its current structure.
The world No.1 says it is vital that actions are taken to protect the historic team competition which started in 1900. in recent years the Davis Cup has undergone significant changes after Kosmos went into partnership with the ITF to relaunch the competition back in 2018 which resulted in the removal of home and away ties. At the time, this deal was meant to last 25 years but it was terminated in January this year with a legal dispute between the two parties still ongoing.
Earlier this week Stan Wawrinka expressed his frustration about the attendance of his country’s tie against France in Glasgow with there being plenty of empty tweets. On Twitter, he posted a video of the venue with one of those tagged in the post being Gerald Pique, founder of Kosmos. Pique defended his organisation by saying attendance of the group stages last year attracted more than 113,000 ticket sales. Then when challenged by Wawrinka why Kosmos’ deal came to a premature end if it was so successful, Pique wrote in response ‘We still don’t know..let’s see what the judge says.’
Now weighing in on the topic, Djokovic has called for there to be an overhaul of the team event and has accused the ITF of ‘never consulting’ with players about changes being made to the event.
“The format needs an overhaul, of course, but not being in the ITF I can’t tell you what’s going on,” the 24-time Grand Slam winner told reporters on Thursday.
“I hope they consult the players for the change because they never consult us. I think players should participate much more in these types of changes, we all have to sit down together and talk about the future. If the ITF doesn’t do things right, I honestly don’t know what will happen to this tournament.’
“For the sake of tennis and its history, this competition must survive, because it is the longest-running team competition we have. There is nothing more important than representing your country, so we’ll see how they redefine the format.”
Pique, who is a former professional footballer who played for Manchester United and Barcelona FC, has been accused by some of trying to destroy the tournament. However, Djokovic has jumped to the Spaniard’s defence by saying the ITF should be getting the criticism instead. When Kosmos’ deal came into effect, it was only able to do so after receiving approval from a vote that took place during the ITF’s 2018 AGM meeting.
“I don’t think it’s Piqué’s fault, so I’m not going to criticize him,” said Djokovic. “I think that the ITF is the one who makes that last decision, the one they made five years ago to modify the format.’
“He joined the Kosmos Group because they saw an opportunity to grow, but I don’t see anyone complaining to the ITF. The format generates various opinions, some in favour and others against, but five years ago everyone was betting on a change of format, everyone agreed that the old format needed a change.’
“Now it’s time to find that balance with a format that works. The first year, in 2019, everyone played in Madrid, leaving 99% of countries without the possibility of playing at home. Serbia, for example, has not played a home qualifier for 4-5 years, it is too long for us, a long time without letting the Serbs see their players.”
This year’s Davis Cup qualifiers took place in February with 12 teams qualifying for the Davis Cup finals alongside the two 2022 finalists and two wildcards. The finals are taking place this week with 16 teams being split into four groups being held at four different locations around Europe. The two top of each group will then qualify for the knock-out stage of the Davis Cup Finals which will take place in Malaga between 21-26 November.
Djokovic’s Serbia are in the same group as South Korea, the Czech Republic and hosts Spain.
“I have had many experiences in my career with this competition, so my desire is to contribute in the best way possible, even knowing that I will barely have time to adapt after the US Open,” said Djokovic.
“At the beginning of the season, I said it very clearly, that this year my main objectives were the Grand Slam and defending the colours of my country, helping them to be in the final in Malaga.”
Serbia has only won the Davis Cup trophy once which was in 2010.
‘Super happy’ Holger Rune Reacts To Winning First Match Since Wimbledon In Beijing
Holger Rune says he is pain-free and has gained confidence since reuniting with his former coach after ending his seven-match losing streak at the China Open.
Rune, who is the third seed in Beijing this week, beat former top 10 player Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4, in his opening match on Friday. The Dane fired 15 winners compared to only three unforced errors during the 85-minute encounter. It is the first time he has won a match on the Tour since Wimbledon in July.
“It feels very good. I had a tough period both with my body and with matches,” said Rune. “I’m happy to be back feeling good and feeling mentally well off the court. I’m super happy with my level today.”
The 20-year-old is experiencing a roller-coaster season where he reached the final of two Masters 1000 events and won a title in Germany during the first six months. However, recently he has struggled for wins on the Tour and ended his collaboration with Patrick Mouratoglou.
On top of that, Rune has also been hampered by a back injury which he recently underwent treatment on before coming to China. He previously told Danish TV that he had a pinched nerve in the fifth lumbar vertebra in his spine since the clay-court season. As a result, he has had to make adjustments to his service motion to overcome this problem.
“I didn’t feel any pain in my body,” he stated following his latest match.
“I’m feeling healthy and taking care of my body. Mostly I’m happy to play without pain and enjoy myself.”
Guiding the world No.4 now is Lars Christensen who he has previously worked with since childhood.
“It has helped my confidence. After some tough periods, he knows me so well,” Rune commented. “He knows when I’m back at my best level so it is easy for us to communicate and find the best version of Holger. That we did today.”
Rune will next play Grigor Dimitrov who staged an epic comeback to defeat Mackenzie McDonald. The Bulgarian was a set and 5-2 down before fighting back to prevail 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1, over the American who was experiencing problems with his shoulder.
Medvedev, Sinner though in contrasting matchesEmbed from Getty Images
In other matches at the tournament, second seed Daniil Medvedev stormed to a 6-2, 6-1, win over Tommy Paul. He has now recorded 39 hardcourt wins on the Tour so far this season which is more than any other player.
“It’s not easy for both of us. Both of us a little jet lagged. Him maybe more, coming from Vancouver,” Medvedev said afterward. “Maybe that made the difference, but if I think only about myself, I’m happy with my level.
“I played great. The start of the match was not easy, but it’s never easy first round, especially in another part of the world. Then I was playing better and better during the match, so I’m happy about my level.”
This week is the first time Medvedev has played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. He is seeking to win his fifth title of 2023.
Also through to the next round is Italy’s Jannik Sinner who struggled at times with his fitness during his troublesome 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3, win over Dan Evans. The world No.7 served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but failed to capitalize on the opportunity, lost a 3-0 lead in the decider and then started limping on the court. During the closing stages, he also fell when trying to return a ball and appeared to hurt himself. Despite all the drama, Sinner still managed to seal the win.
Sinner is now 16-1 in opening matches this season. He is bidding to reach his 12th tournament quarter-final in Beijing.
Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe
Roger Federer says he would love to see the two highest-ranked players on the men’s Tour play in the next Laver Cup after this year’s tie ended in a crushing defeat for Europe.
Team World, which is captained by John McEnroe, dominated the clash in Vancouver after surging to a 10-2 lead heading into the final day of competition. On Sunday they were required to win only one match to claim the overall title which they did in the opening doubles match. Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe ousted the European duo of Andrey Rublev and Hubert hurkacz 7-6(4), 7-6(5).
“I am proud of these guys. We brought together a great group of some youth and experience, guys that have been here before. Everybody played well,” McEnroe said of his team’s 13-2 victory.
“It was an awesome week. We kicked some ass.”
“Winning is a whole lot better than losing. We struggled the first couple of years, and now we have tasted winning and it feels good.”
In contrast, Europe didn’t have much joy at the event with their only victory being from Casper Ruud who defeated Tommy Paul on the second day of the tie. Since the start of the competition in 2017, Europe won four consecutive titles but 2023 is the second year in a row that they have been defeated.
Hoping that this losing streak will come to an end next year when the event is held in Berlin, Federer says he wishes Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play. Djokovic has played in the Laver Cup twice before but Alcaraz is yet to make his debut.
“They destroyed Team Europe. Team World played fantastic, they really brought the energy. Everybody brought a point, they were stronger in the doubles. In the singles too, they were moving fast, they were ready to go. They thoroughly deserved victory,” said Federer.
“I would like to see Novak again, Alcaraz and Novak on the same team. Sascha Zverev would be great for the German market. Someone like [Holger] Rune, that really hurt Team Europe. Rune and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas pulling out. [Daniil] Medvedev would be great. I like watching [Andrey] Rublev, and maybe someone will come through,” he added.
Federer is a co-founder of the Laver Cup with his management company Team 8 partnering up with Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann to create the event. In 2019 the team competition was awarded ATP Tour status with a spot on the official calendar and access to marketing facilities under an agreement. However, ranking points are not awarded to players.
Due to the nature of the format, only one match was played on Sunday with fans not getting the chance of watching any singles. Something two-time French Open champion Ruud admits is a problem.
“Two of the times that I have played was maybe in a way a little bit unfortunate with only one deciding doubles (match) on Sunday,” Ruud commented.
“The crowd didn’t get to see a singles (match) after or whatever. That’s not in my hands to decide what the format looks like.’
“But last year in London was great in many ways because you had so many great players and it came down to almost the last match. When I watched on TV the first series, it was so exciting because Roger played a couple of times, the final match of the Sunday and clutched it for Team Europe. It’s been a couple of years without playing that last singles match. But it’s a great initiative. Me, as a golf fan, watching the Ryder Cup all my life in my childhood, it’s great for tennis to have this event.”
The 2024 Laver Cup will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin between September 20-22.
India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles
A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money.
Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness.
“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.
Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019.
Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.
After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).
“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday.
Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration.
“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”
Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland.
Carlos Alcaraz beats Yannick Hanfmann on his debut at the China Open
Jessica Pegula and Maria Sakkari advance to the semifinal in Tokyo
Asian Games Champion Qinwen Zheng Reveals Shock Departure Of Coach Fissette
‘Super happy’ Holger Rune Reacts To Winning First Match Since Wimbledon In Beijing
Top seed Iga Swiatek Dumped Out Of Tokyo By Kudermetova
‘Bulls**t’ – Expert Involved In Simona Halep’s Anti-Doping Case Blasts Four-Year Ban
Maria Sakkari ‘Scared’ Of Anti-Doping Testing Measures After Halep Ban
Gutsy Novak Djokovic Prevails In Grueling Battle With Medvedev To Win US Open
Iga Swiatek Dismisses Criticism Over Recent US Open Exit
COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Faces Sinner Test, Women’s Semis Take Centre Stage
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Sets Rublev Quarter-Final Clash
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Plenty Of Surprises Could Occur In This Year’s Wimbledon Women’s Draw
Hot Topics3 days ago
South Korean No.1 Kwon Faces Disciplinary Action After Asian Games Meltdown
Hot Topics2 days ago
Fit-Again Holger Rune Targets ATP Finals Qualification
Hot Topics3 days ago
Carlos Alcaraz Set For China Debut With Eyes Set On Reclaiming No.1 Spot From Djokovic
Latest news2 days ago
Iga Swiatek survives Mai Hontama to reach the quarter final in Tokyo
Hot Topics2 days ago
Novak Djokovic Upbeat About The Future Of Men’s Tennis As He Praises Alcaraz
Hot Topics2 days ago
‘The Full Package’ – Maria Sharapova Hails The Rise Of Coco Gauff
Latest news2 days ago
Daria Kasatkina Criticises Decision To Not Use Roof At Sweltering Pan Pacific Open
Latest news3 days ago
Karen Khachanov beats Yoshihito Nishioka to claim his first title since 2018