Barcelona defender Gerard Pique might turn out to be the much-needed savior of the tiring Davis Cup format. Pique, who is in Madrid this week during the ongoing Mutua Madrid Open, plans to meet the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray along with tennis executives to talk about his idea of a 16-team single location tournament which will be played over a week.
He has already met with a number of ATP Chiefs including CEO Chris Kermode to discuss the same. According to Pique, this would actually allow the Davis Cup to succeed in becoming the “The World Cup of Tennis”.
The present 3-day ties of 5 set matches format of the Davis Cup which is spread over the weekends in February, April, September and November has resulted in many top players withdrawing from the competition.
To make things encouraging for Pique, Murray, Nadal and Djokovic have voiced their support to his revolution idea.
“I think that it’s a really exciting idea. If it comes off, I think it would be a very, very good thing for tennis,” said Murray, who lead the way for Great Britain’s 1st Davis Cup in 79 years in 2015, but has missed the last three ties.
“We’ve exchanged messages,” Murray added. “I think there’s still a lot of things that need to be worked out before it potentially happens, but I think it would be a very good thing for tennis.”
Nadal, who hasn’t been a part of the competition since winning for the 4th time in 2011 spoke about the ITF’s resistance to change. “For many years they have been static. They haven’t moved with the times or looked for new solutions.”
“Pique is part of a group that wants to create a World Cup that would be a great and very interesting tournament to compete in. It would be a fantastic initiative if it goes through and hopefully it will.”
Djokovic has also been vocal about the ITF’s traditionalism and said, “To see one of the football greats coming to the tennis world and trying to support it personally, but also in some structural business way, can only bring positives to our sport. We did talk several times.”
“The schedule is quite complicated, but I’m really glad that there are people like Gerard that are willing to invest the time and energy to make this game better, so hopefully it’s going to come to life.”
The ITF is set to vote on the changes to the Davis Cup format at its AGM on 4th August and the main reform is expected to be making the singles matches best of 3 instead of best of 5 sets.