The Davis Cup Gerard Pique sauce, It’s over. Less than five years after signing its partnership with Cosmos, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has decided to put an end to it and regain control over the organization of the venerable event. “The ITF confirms that its partnership with Kosmos Tennis to the Davis Cup ends in its fifth year”, writes in a press release the Federation, which specifies that it will resume the organization of the competition from the 2023 edition.
After having ratified in August 2018 a change of formula for the Davis Cup, the ITF had entrusted for 3 billion dollars and a duration of 25 years the organization of the event (from 2019) to the investment group Kosmos , chaired by former Spanish footballer Gerard Pique. In 2017, the Catalan had founded this company with a leader of the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, met at a dinner organized to bring Japanese investors closer to his club, FC Barcelona. His first masterstroke was the acquisition the following year of the Davis Cup.
But far from the announced 25 years, the partnership between the ITF and Kosmos came to a halt with its end announced this Thursday. A source familiar with the matter explains that the two parties have failed to find a financial agreement.
With the takeover by the ITF, the question now arises of maintaining the new formula, decried from its launch and which is still struggling to convince. Wishing to revitalize an event more than a century old and make it more attractive to the media, Kosmos had revisited the format, not without arousing numerous criticisms. Pique and Kosmos being accused of distorting the venerable institution.
The public with absent subscribers
Exit the four rounds stretching from February to December, the matches in five sets and the duels between nations, at one of the adversaries, in an overexcited atmosphere. Instead, a final phase over a week and in the same city had been established. A formula that has further evolved since with a first elimination round, then a group stage in four cities and finally the final phase (quarter, semi-finals, finals in one place).
But far from relaunching the event, the new format is struggling to attract the best players. The spectators, cooled by the format and the high price of places, shun the competition, like the sparse stands during the group stage last year.
Gilles Moretton in heaven
In its press release, the ITF does not specify whether the Davis Cup could return to its original format. In the meantime, the 2023 edition will take place “as planned”, indicates the international federation which explains that it will organize “the qualifications and the final stages of the 2023 edition, with the eight-team final stage organized in Malaga, Spain. , in the month of November.
Already, the president of the French Tennis Federation Gilles Moretton has welcomed this decision. “I have always fought against this new format of the Davis Cup, an institution in our sport. It’s a great victory for tennis, ”he wrote in a message sent to several media including AFP.