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The Davis Cup, the story of a tournament that was glorious until Piqué arrived and turned it into a Twingo


It was the favorite event in the world of tennis, at the level of the Grand Slams; the former soccer player proposed to change the format and the failure was resounding.

The category of the best tennis players is basically measured by their performances in

Grand Slam

tournaments and so, with

Novak Djokovic


Rafa Nadal

's line among the greatest champions after his conquest in Australia, that career did not end.

But very close in the consideration of that category was -until recently- the epic that the

Davis Cup

contributed , with all its historical and emotional charge.

“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,"

John Patrick McEnroe

once said .

The “Supermac” of the early 80s was one of the best tennis players of his time and, furthermore, a “cupbearer” player par excellence, leading his country, even from his youthful days, to the conquest of the

Davis Cup


That story could have collapsed -we don't know if it was totally- five years ago, when the

International Tennis Federation

accepted the proposal of

Gerard Piqué

and his company


to transform the centenary competition into something completely different.

In addition to some regulatory changes to the game, they also changed the Davis Cup system, essentially reducing it to a one-week, one-venue competition.

It is a story that

started with doubts and ends badly

: it goes to trial in the


(Court of Arbitration for Sport).

There, Kosmos has just filed his lawsuit against the FIT, after it announced two weeks ago that the Cup would not continue with the new format as of next year (they will study what they will do with Davis in the future).

Gerard Piqué and his company Kosmos took over the rights to the Davis Cup in 2018. The project failed and ended in a million-dollar legal conflict.

Photo: EFE/Alejandro Garcia.

“Davis was mutilated, I don't think tennis players want to play it like in my time.

And I am not surprised by this break between Kosmos and the Federation, since the new format did not work for anyone, "said McEnroe - now a commentator - from Australia.

Created by

Dwight Davis

at the beginning of the last century as a match between the teams of the United States and Great Britain, it was originally called the "International Lawn Tennis Challenge Trophy".

Little by little, other countries joined to form

a virtual world championship

, one of the most prestigious team events in the sport.

And so the Cup offered moments that are

legends in tennis

due to the fervor of players and audiences, and also due to their technical quality.

From the French "musketeers" to the glorious Australian dynasty, built under the leadership of coach

Harry Hopman

, the first glimpses of Spain as a power (1960s, Manolo Santana's time) to the usual power of the United States, the maximum champion with his 32 titles.

And of course, all that it meant for

Argentine tennis

, which obsessively pursued its conquest until its final crowning in 2016, in


: the feat of the team led by Daniel Orsanic and

led by an imperial Juan Martín Del Potro

constitutes one of the milestones Argentine sport of all time.

Argentina Davis Cup champion, led by Del Potro.

Photo: German Garcia Adrasti.

The most relevant change that the Davis Cup had had was implemented in 1981 when the World Group was established with 16 teams, but it was only an organizational matter.

It is true that in recent decades, it was difficult for the “super elite” to combine their individual calendar –focused on the big tournaments and the search for points- with the needs of their national teams.

But, in general, the


of the Cup was maintained.

Until Piqué arrived with his proposal and convinced the International Federation


Moreover, they achieved more than 70% of the votes of the national federations during the August 2018 ITF assembly in Orlando and closed that story.

From traditional tennis the


intensified , but it was not enough to avoid that agreement.

"It's a


, they ruined

120 years of tradition

. These people are sick in the head. They never grabbed a racket and hit a tennis ball. They should be sentenced for life,"

said Ion Tiriac

, for example.

"I bet what you want that

in two years they will change the format again

. This is a joke and also a shame. They have ruined the jewel of tennis," he said during an interview with The New York Times.

The Davis Cup, stuck in the hearts of Argentines.

In 1980, José Luis Clerc and Guillermo Vilas played a memorable semifinal against England in Buenos Aires.

Kosmos promised to get the FIT

3,000 million dollars for 25 years

, a figure that at this point and after three editions has proven completely impossible.

As it also turned out to be impossible to maintain the “fee” of

40 million dollars per year


The Irish leader

David Miles

, opposed to the current leadership of the FIT headed by the American

David Haggerty

, told the newspaper La Nación on a visit to Buenos Aires: “The change in format of the competition does not represent tennis.

Everyone knew that Davis needed a change, but there was another way to generate the same money

while respecting traditions .


It would have been better to wait a while to vote for a change and discuss in depth with the federations.

There was no honesty or transparency.”

The change in format had not received the support of important federations either (Germany, Australia, Great Britain) and among the critics was a former Wimbledon champion like

Lleyton Hewitt

: “Now we are led by a Spanish footballer.

This is as if I were going out to ask for changes for the Champions League.

It's ridiculous,

Piqué doesn't know anything about tennis

. "

Fran Cerúndolo, in the first training session of the Argentine team in Helsinki.

Those led by Guillermo Coria face Finland this weekend, broadcast by TyC Sports.

Photo: AAT Press.

"I don't agree at all with the format and the structure to reach the final. I think having the final in one city is ridiculous. Personally I don't think all the top players will play. We'll have to wait and see ”, he added.


Rafael Nadal

was among Piqué's


and the project went ahead.

The first edition under the new format was played in the Caja Mágica in Madrid and there were stars like Nadal himself,

Djokovic and Andy Murray

to prop it up.



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 came, the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and the American Taylor Fritz.

Piqué's adventure in the Davis Cup received a lot of criticism.

"He knows nothing about tennis," former champion Lleyton Hewitt bellowed at the time.

Photo: EFE/Miguel Rajmil

Due to the pandemic, the FIT agreed to


the fee for recent seasons, which was reduced to 10.2 million in 2020 and almost doubled the following season.

32 million were paid last year and 36 million were pledged for this one.

But Kosmos wanted a global renegotiation of the entire contract.

He had not met his sponsorship expectations.

He had the support of


–the Japanese e-commerce company, Piqué's own partner in Cosmos- and some other sponsors, but at an


level for the funds that Davis demanded.

According to the Spanish media, Piqué expected a "shocking investment" from

Arab funds

- as he achieved for the Spanish soccer Super Cup - and he even thought of taking the final phase to Dubai, but that Plan B did not work, the Arabs never came to his rescue.

On January 12, while Piqué was already involved in all the media paraphernalia of his divorce with


, the success of the latter with his Session #53 and the parade on social networks with his King's League soccer 7, he learned of the statement of the FIT, which put an

end to the adventure of the Davis Cup


Immediately the resources of Kosmos and the FIT arrived before the TAS.

For the former footballer's company, the lawsuit is for "unjustified contract termination", while the FIT demands 25 million euros for "non-compliance", although that figure would reach 60 million due to other accumulated debts.

Kosmos also claims


for "damages" caused by this break.

The 2023 Davis Cup is already underway and there will be no changes in its implementation.

“The Federation has ensured that financial contingencies are covered and as custodians 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”, indicated the FIT statement.

But the future is unknown.



look too

Davis Cup: Mago Coria trusts his "great team" to face Finland, although he is concerned about the state of the pitch

Djokovic, after recovering the crown in Australia: "I collapsed emotionally when I went to greet my people"

Djokovic recalled his childhood in the middle of the war: "I stood in line every morning to receive some milk and bread"

The ATP closed an internal case against Alexander Zverev for an alleged assault on his former partner

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-01-31

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