By Richard Martin
MADRID (Reuters) – The focus of the new-look Davis Cup should be about teams and not individuals, Gerard Pique said on Wednesday, brushing aside concerns that top names such as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will not want to participate in next year’s competition.
Twenty-times Grand Slam champion Federer has said that he is unlikely to play in the new-look tournament, spearheaded by Barcelona player Pique’s investment group Kosmos.
Changes to the Davis Cup format will see the 118-year-old competition turned into a week-long event taking place in November, with the first two editions happening in Madrid in 2019 and 2020.
Speaking in August, Federer questioned why Spain defender Pique was “meddling” in the tennis calendar.
“We want to focus on teams not individuals, on players representing their nation and their federation and on building the best teams possible,” Pique said at the presentation of the competition in Madrid on Wednesday.
“We want to focus on the competition to be the teams, which is what it always has been. The Davis Cup has survived for 118 years because of the national teams, and because individual players haven’t been so important.”
World number two Djokovic has said he would “prioritise” playing in the ATP’s World Team Cup, set to take place in January 2020. He has also criticised the timing of the new Davis Cup.
The World Team Cup has put men’s governing body the ATP on a collision course with the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the governing body behind the revamped Davis Cup format.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)