By Tennis Now Staff | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, September 14, 2024
The Davis Cup debacle is due to the ITF’s decisions and not soccer star turned investor Gerard Pique, says Novak Djokovic.
Meeting the media in Valencia ahead of Serbia’s Davis Cup tie, Djokovic was asked his views on the current state of Davis Cup.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion says Davis Cup issues are due to the International Tennis Federation’s decisions and asserts “if anyone has to be criticized, it is the ITF.”
“I don’t support criticism of Pique because it’s not his fault. The ITF is the one that allowed the format change and the one that makes the final decision,” Djokovic told the media in Spain. “He came with his company and bet on tennis. If anyone has to be criticised, it is the ITF.
“The format had to be changed, what happens is that we have gone from one extreme to the other. We haven’t played in Serbia for a long time at home.”
Stan Wawrinka, who paired with Roger Federer to help lead Switzerland to the 2014 Davis Cup championship shared this video of a near empty Manchester Arena for Switzerland’s Davis Cup tie earlier this week.
Wawrinka captioned his social media post with a sarcastic: “Thank you @3gerardpique, @ITFTennis 🤬🤦🏻♂️! @DavisCup France vs Switzerland in Manchester lol.”
— Stanislas Wawrinka (@stanwawrinka) September 12, 2023
The three-time Grand Slam champion was referring to the International Tennis Federation and Kosmos, led by Pique, who terminated their 25-year, $3 billion Davis Cup deal after five years last year.
The deal radically reconstructed the Davis Cup format largely forgoing the traditional home-and away Davis Cup ties that made Davis Cup so festive, fan-friendly and unique.
The new format came under fire from several Davis Cup traditionalists, including Lleyton Hewitt, John McEnroe, Jim Courier and Wawrinka with some players charging the ITF has killed the spirit of Davis Cup and put the longest-running annual team competition in sport in a floundering state.
The 36-year-old Serbian superstar suggests players have not been consulted on format changes and that Davis Cup’s status could get even more complicated given the legal matters dissolving the ITF and Kosmos partnership and the fact ITF President David Haggerty’s four-year term ends at the end of 2023.
“I don’t know what will happen if the ITF loses in court with Kosmos,” Djokovic said. “Let’s see what happens with the competition. There is a lot of uncertainty because there are also elections for the presidency of the International Federation.
“All I’m saying is that the Davis Cup has to live. I hope that the players will be consulted if there are changes because then there are players frustrated by it and they will speak in the media.”
Photo credit: Justin Gimelstob Facebook