Gerard Piqué suffers a financial setback. One of its main businesses, the Davis Cup, suffers from various criticisms
LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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It was in 2018 when the International Tennis Federation, the ITF, announced a 25-year plan in which they associated with the investment group Kosmos. This group was founded and directed by the then-soccer player Gerard Piqué.
This movement demonstrated the beginning of the business career of the Catalans. For an investment of 3,000 million dollars, the group intended to transform the Davis Cup.
The plan was mainly a change in format and fixture. Change from a tournament throughout the year and with different venues, to an event similar to a world cup. In which there is a qualifying round of 24 countries and a final phase of 18.
In its first edition, in Madrid, it is remembered as a success, which even had the presence of his partner Shakira, along with Camilo and Pedro Capón. His idea was to create a kind of soccer world cup.
Now, 3 years later, reality seems different. The criticism has not stopped coming and puts the economic future of the tournament and the company in charge of organizing it on the ropes. An example of this was the words of Taylor Fritz. The American tennis player, who competed for his tennis federation in the 2022 Davis Cup in Malaga, said that “During the match, I only thought about how bad these balls are. The way they wear down and the inability to hit a winning shot…it's unbelievable. I realized that there was no point in playing aggressively, it was impossible to overflow. I can't even speak about the speed of the track”.
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But Fritz not only criticized aspects of the game and the court but also the relevance that the tournament has had, especially this year. “I think nobody cares what we do here. In case we won the title, I have doubts that ESPN would report on it, but that doesn't influence us, we have the ambition to win it”, said the American.
But the voices against the new format are not recent, as in 2021 Novak Djokovic warned of the unpopularity of the new format among tennis players on the circuit. “With the format change, we have lost the option for many countries in the World Group to have a tie. You have to respect tradition and history, and see how you can improve the competition," said one of the most winning tennis players in history.
Another detractor of the new format is Australian tennis player John Millman. After Piqué commented with the streamer Ibai Llanos on his opinions about the football spectator crisis, the Australian compared it to the changes to the Davis Cup: "Ahhhhh... Now I know why the oldest team competition in our sport now has the best-of-three-set format, has no home or away matches, and playoffs are resolved in five hours. Unfortunately, I haven't seen the younger generation flock to the neutral venue yet, but it sure is seductive!”
For now, the organizing company Kosmos and the International Tennis Federation warned that the "Tennis World Cup" does not contemplate changes and that it has "arrived to stay".
Although there are still 23 more editions in the contract, for now, Gerard Piqué's multimillion-dollar business does not seem to be convincing. But only time will tell if the changes will spawn something new or take the tournament right over the edge.