The Davis Cup, the story of a glorious tournament until the arrival of Piqué who transformed it into Twingo

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The category of the best tennis players is essentially measured by their performance in tournaments grand slams and so, with Novak Djokovic corresponding to the line of Rafael Nadal among the top champions after the conquest in Australia, that race didn’t end. But very close in consideration of that category was -until recently- the epic he contributed to Davis Cupwith all its historical and emotional charge.

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“Dwight Davis was absolutely brilliant in realizing that the most individualistic of sports could enter another dimension. And in my case, Davis gave me more pleasure than anything else,” he once said. John Patrick McEnroe. The “Supermac” of the early 80s was one of the best tennis players of his time and, moreover, a “cupbearer” par excellence, leading his country, from his youth, to conquer the Davis.

That story could have collapsed – we don’t know if at all – five years ago, when the International Tennis Federation accepted the offer Gerard Pique and your company Cosmos turn the age-old competition into something entirely different. In addition to some regulation changes to the game, they also changed the Davis Cup system, essentially reducing it to a one-week, one-venue competition. It’s a story that started with doubts and ends badly: He is headed for trial in tax (Court of Arbitration for Sport). There, Kosmos has just filed a lawsuit against FIT, after announcing two weeks ago that the Cup would not continue with the new format from next year (they will study what they will do with Davis in the future).

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“Davis has been mutilated, I don’t think tennis players want to play like they did in my day. And I’m not surprised by this breakup between Kosmos and the Federation, since the new format hasn’t worked for anyone,” said McEnroe – now a commentator – from Australia.

Created by Dwight Davis at the beginning of the last century as a meeting between the teams of the United States and Great Britain, it was originally called the “International Lawn Tennis Challenge Trophy”. Gradually, other countries joined up to form themselves a virtual world championship, one of the most prestigious team events in the sport. And so the Cup offered constituting moments tennis legends for the fervor of the players and the public, and also for its technical quality.

From the French “musketeers” to the glorious Australian dynasty, built under the leadership of Coach Harry Hopmann, Spain’s first flashes of power (1960s, Manolo Santana era) to the usual power of the United States, the greatest champion with its 32 titles. And, of course, all that it meant to him Argentine tenniswho obsessively pursued his conquest until the final crowning in 2016, in Zagreb: the feat of the team led by Daniel Orsanic e led by an imperial Juan Martín Del Potro It constitutes one of the milestones of Argentine sport of all time.

The most relevant change that Davis Cup had was implemented in 1981 when the World Group was established with 16 teams, but it was only an organizational issue. It is true that in recent decades it has been difficult for the ‘super elite’ to combine their individual calendar – centered on big tournaments and chasing points – with the needs of their national teams. But generally the hierarchy of the Cup has been retained. Until Piqué arrived with his proposal and convinced the International Federation. Also, they got more than 70% of the national federations vote at the August 2018 ITF meeting in Orlando and closed that story.

From traditional tennis, the critics, but they weren’t enough to avoid such an agreement. “It’s a shamethey ruined 120 years of tradition. These people are insane. They have never picked up a racket and hit a tennis ball. They should be sentenced to life in prison,” she said. Tyriacus ion, For instance. “I bet what they want in two years they will change format again. This is a joke and also a pity. They ruined the jewel of tennis,” she said in an interview with the New York Times.

Kosmos promised to get FIT 3,000 million dollars for 25 years, a figure that at this point and after three editions has proved completely impossible. As it was also impossible to keep the “fee” of 40 million dollars a year. the Irish leader David Milescontrary to the current leadership of the FIT led by the American David Haggerti, he told La Nación newspaper on a visit to Buenos Aires: “The change of format of the competition does not represent tennis. Everyone knew Davis needed a change, but there was another way to generate the same money. respecting the traditions. It would have been better to wait a bit to vote on a change and discuss in depth with the federations. There was no honesty or transparency.”

Furthermore, the change of format had not received the support of the major federations (Germany, Australia, Great Britain) and among the critics there was a former Wimbledon champion like Lleyton Hewitt: “Now we are led by a Spanish footballer. It’s like I’m going out to ask for changes for the Champions League. It’s ridiculous, Piqué knows nothing about tennis”.

“I don’t agree at all with the format and structure for reaching the final. I think having the final in one city is ridiculous. Personally I don’t think all the best players will play. We’ll have to wait and see,” he added.

However, Rafael Nadal was among the scene objects for Piqué and the project moved forward. The first edition with the new format was played in the Caja Mágica in Madrid and there were stars like Nadal himself, Djokovic and Andy Murray to support it. The pandemic it stopped in 2020 and Madrid continued as the venue the following year. But already in the last edition, held at the Palacio de los Deportes in Malaga, only two top 10 arrived, the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and the American Taylor Fritz.

Due to the pandemic, FIT agreed renegotiate the “share” of recent seasons, reduced to 10.2 million in 2020 and almost doubled in the following season. 32 million was paid last year and 36 million was pledged for it. But Kosmos wanted a comprehensive renegotiation of the entire contract.

He hadn’t met his sponsorship expectations. He had the support of Rakuten -the Japanese e-commerce company, partner of Piqué in Cosmos- and a few other sponsors, but on a basis insufficient for funds requested by Davis. According to Spanish media, Piqué was expecting a “shocking investment”. arabic wallpapers -how he managed it for the Spanish Super Cup- and he even thought of bringing the final phase to Dubai, but that plan B didn’t work, the Arabs never came to his rescue.

On January 12, while Piqué was already involved in all the media ancillaries of his divorce with Shakirathe success of this with its Session #53 and the fashion show on social networks with its King’s League football 7, learned of the FIT press release, which put end to the Davis Cup adventure.

The resources of Kosmos and the FIT immediately arrived before the CAS. For the former footballer’s club, the lawsuit is for “unjustified termination of the contract”, while Fit is asking for 25 million euros for “default”, even if that figure would reach 60 million due to other accumulated debts. Kosmos also states fee for “the damages” that this break produces.

Davis Cup 2023 is already underway and there will be no changes in its implementation. “The Federation has ensured that financial contingencies are covered and as guardians of the competition we will organize the 2023 qualifiers and finals as planned. The final phase with eight teams will be held in Malaga, in November,” indicates the FIT press release. But the future is unknown. to complete.

Source: Clarin

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