Davis Cup: ITF and Gerard Pique’s Kosmos organisation, according to Lleyton Hewitt, are ‘killing the competition

Davis Cup
Source: Skysports

Moving the Davis Cup to the Middle East, according to Lleyton Hewitt, would be “selling the competition’s spirit.”

The International Tennis Federation and Gerard Pique’s Kosmos firm, who effectively took over the Davis Cup with a massive investment in 2018, are expected to announce a five-year deal to host the finals in Abu Dhabi.

The inaugural event in 2019 was held in Madrid, and this year’s finals, which began on Thursday, will feature group stages in Madrid, Innsbruck, and Turin before culminating in Madrid next weekend.

“I think it’s crazy,” skipper Lleyton Hewitt remarked after Australia’s 3-0 loss to Croatia. It’s not the point of the Davis Cup. For the past three or four years, I’ve been rather vocal about the situation.

“Even for us here tonight, this is a fantastic stadium, but there isn’t a huge audience here. The Davis Cup isn’t about that. Playing in Davis Cup semi-finals and finals in front of sold-out crowds is one of my fondest memories.

“It didn’t matter whether it was in Australia or Hawaii. The ambience was fantastic. Away games may be just as exciting as home games because you had to find a way to work as a team.

“Because it was up there with the apex of our sport in men’s tennis, which was five sets, the Davis Cup was regarded in great regard.

“We tossed that out the door, and now we’re tossing the house and everything in it out the door. Playing a few best-of-three qualifying matches here and there isn’t the same as having home-and-away main draw matches all year.

“So, I believe it’s outrageous that they’re selling the Davis Cup’s soul to the Middle East for another five years, and they’re truly hurting the competition.”

The captain’s press conference was used by Great Britain’s Leon Smith to push for more consultation with players and those around the teams, but Hewitt isn’t holding his breath.

“We didn’t have input four years ago, mate,” he replied. I’m not sure it’ll make a difference now. It is owned and operated by a soccer player and his business. So it’s unlike anything tennis has ever experienced before, and it’s such a major event.

“The ITF didn’t come to me or pretty much any other Australian who has had the richest tradition in this competition for over 100 years, along with two or three other countries,” he says.

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