MADRID (Information) – From the second the Worldwide Tennis Federation (ITF) agreed in 2018 to a radical makeover of the historic Davis Cup, opinion amongst gamers, pundits and followers has been divided.
Tennis – Davis Cup Finals – Closing – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – November 24, 2019 The Spain staff rejoice with the trophy after profitable the Davis Cup remaining Information/Susana Vera
The demise of the World Group, launched in 1981 with house and away ties performed on three separate weekends and culminating in a November remaining, in favor of a week-long, 18-nation occasion, was thought to be sacrilege by many.
Others, together with ITF president David Haggerty and Gerard Pique, whose Kosmos Tennis firm are bankrolling the revamped competitors to the tune of $80 million yearly for 25 years, say it marks a brand new, thrilling chapter.
Madrid was chosen as the primary host for the soccer World Cup-style showpiece and this week, in La Caja Magica stadium, the 119-year-old Davis Cup has been beneath scrutiny like by no means earlier than.
ITF Chief Working Officer Kelly Fairweather informed Information he would give the primary version 7.5 marks out of 19. So what has labored, and what must be improved?
DID THE TOP PLAYERS SHOW UP?
One purpose for the revamp was that whereas golden trio Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have all gained the trophy, they stopped displaying up for nationwide service beneath the outdated format as they managed their schedules.
Nadal’s presence in Madrid was a no brainer and the Spaniard performed like a person possessed, profitable eight of eight matches to steer Spain to the title.
Djokovic shed tears together with his Serbia staff mates after a heartbreaking quarter-final defeat whereas Andy Murray sealed one level for Britain and spent the remainder of the week biting his fingernails on the bench appearing as cheerleader.
Federer and Stan Wawrinka’s Switzerland did not qualify and didn’t get a wildcard whereas Alex Zverev rejected Germany’s name outright. Eleven of the world’s prime 20 gamers had been there although and the standard and depth of the tennis was sensational.
DID THE FANS SHOW UP?
Spain’s matches, all on the 12,500-seater central courtroom, had been bought out, however different ties had been performed in half-empty arenas.
French followers, often Davis Cup diehards, boycotted the occasion in protest on the new format, with doubles participant Pierre Hugues-Herbert joking after the staff’s group conflict with Japan that it was the primary time he had heard himself sing La Marsellaise.
Belgian, Canadian, Argentine and Kazakh followers had been the noisiest, other than when Spain performed. Britain’s sizeable contingent swelled for the semi-final in opposition to Spain after the Garden Tennis Affiliation (LTA) stumped up for tickets.
Kosmos stated round 130,000 tickets had been bought.
DID THE FORMAT WORK?
Squeezing 25 Davis Cup ties into every week on three courts proved nearly inconceivable, even with every one boiled down to 2 singles and one doubles. Night ties routinely bumped into the small hours and on Wednesday Italy and the US performed till four.07 a.m. — the second newest end in skilled tennis.
Six three-team teams proved sophisticated, particularly as two of one of the best runners-up progressed to the final eight. There was additionally controversy when Canada conceded a doubles rubber to the U.S., handing out a 6-Zero 6-Zero present. Fortunately the Individuals exited or the integrity of the occasion would have been disputed.
WHAT ABOUT TV COVERAGE AROUND THE WORLD?
Discovery-owned Eurosport signed a two-year deal to point out the finals in six of its European markets and 41 tv channels, reaching 171 nations, aired the motion together with Fox (U.S.), TF1 (France) and Channel 9 (Australia).
Nonetheless, the occasion went unnoticed in some nations and Fairweather stated extra wanted to be completed. “Promoting one thing that’s unknown could be tough. However now we will begin promoting for subsequent 12 months.”
HOW DID IT FEEL?
Having 18 nations in a single place on the identical time gave the occasion an immediacy and depth the outdated format lacked. If something the tempo was slightly too frenetic at instances and a 10-day occasion would have allowed extra respiratory house.
“It felt like a Davis Cup tie besides, for some purpose, it seems like there’s extra on the road as a result of all of the gamers are right here. It felt greater,” Canada’s Vasek Pospisil stated.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The large query is how will the Davis Cup Finals slot in with the ATP Cup going down in six weeks’ time — the same occasion however over 10 days and three cities in Australia.
Pique and Djokovic say the 2 can not co-exist however an answer have to be discovered.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; enhancing by Clare Fallon