(Reuters) – The revamped Davis Cup format making its debut this week is fantastic for tennis and must be given a chance to succeed, Britain’s Andy Murray has said.
The week-long tournament in Madrid’s Caja Magica, involving 18 teams split into six groups of three, is being bankrolled by Barcelona defender Gerard Pique’s investment firm Kosmos, who are pumping in $3 billion over 25 years.
It is a major shake-up to the 119-year-old Davis Cup that originally had home and away ties played throughout the year, with critics saying a neutral venue will not sell enough tickets and will not have the same atmosphere when teams compete.
“I respect that (Pique) is trying to do something new and different in tennis,” Murray told reporters. “Tennis is not always the easiest to make changes in and this is a big change.
“I hope it goes really well because, if it does, that’s fantastic for tennis. I think there’s some people that seem to be hoping it doesn’t go well but I hope it goes really well and that it’s a big success.
“The players and all of the fans need to try to give it a chance to see how it goes and I think we’ll have a better idea after the tournament is finished.”
The tournament begins later on Monday with the group winners and two best runners-up moving to the quarter-finals. The final will be contested on Sunday.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)