The Kosmos Group, under the leadership of ex-Barcelona star Gerard Piqué, wanted to turn the Davis Cup into nothing less than the World Cup of Tennis. Three final tournaments later, nothing is left of it. As it became known on Thursday evening, the ITF and Kosmos are going their separate ways again. After only five years of joint efforts.
The tennis world association ITF has prematurely ended the billion-dollar deal with a group of investors and is again the sole master of the Davis Cup. The partnership with Kosmos Tennis, which was concluded in 2018 for 25 years around ex-soccer star Gerard Piqué, will be dissolved, the ITF said without giving any details.
Which is astonishing in that the last event in Málaga so far has caused quite a stir. Not only with the spectators, also the players could relate to the atmosphere in Spain. And not just the ultimately successful Canadians.
Kosmos had secured the rights to the Davis Cup in a spectacular deal and announced investments of three billion dollars (2.8 billion euros). The changes to the traditional mode had caused heated debates in the tennis world. Alexander Zverev temporarily refused to participate in the changed Davis Cup in protest.
The ITF is now once again responsible for offering the participating associations the best possible package. It starts at the beginning of February, the games have long been scheduled, not only in the world group. And it would be surprising if the intermediate round were dropped from the program again in September. 2022 was played in Bologna, Hamburg, Glasgow and Valencia, not always in front of full ranks. But now and then something like a Davis Cup mood has arisen.
But will it be the hour of the traditionalists again next year? To put it another way: Will the champions in the Davis Cup then be determined in a real home game, as was the case up to 2018, when the two best teams of the year meet? doubts are warranted. Because to be honest, the last endgames of the classic style didn’t really inspire either. The participation of the top players in general is too thin, there have already been improvements in this regard during the Kosmos years (injuries such as those of Alexander Zverev or Carlos Alcaraz, who wanted to take part in the final tournament in 2022, of course clouded this picture a bit).
It will at least be exciting to see how the ITF will now invest. Until a year ago, it was said that the ATP Cup was the natural and also the better enemy of the Davis Cup due to the date. Now the ATP Cup has been replaced by the United Cup, but the impressions after the first edition were not entirely positive either.
One can hope for at least one thing: that the sometimes very arbitrary allocation of wildcards for individual associations will be critically questioned in the future and, at best, stopped.
The original for this post “Tennis bang – billion-dollar deal with ex-soccer player Piqué dissolved” comes from tennisnet.com.