Lleyton Hewitt Davis Cup

Davis Cup format ‘a four-year disaster’ claims Lleyton Hewitt

Australian Davis Cup captain and former No.1 Lleyton Hewitt has slated the current format of the competition, describing the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) collaboration with Kosmos as a ‘disaster’.

The ITF and Kosmos Group, who were founded by former professional footballer Gerard Pique, announced a $3 billion and 25-year partnership for the Davis Cup back in 2018.

This collaboration involved scrapping the majority of the traditional home-and-away format, with matches being reduced to best-of-three sets, and having host nations for the finals.

However, the deal collapsed in January with the organisations in question currently in a legal dispute over the matter.

This has left the future of the competition up in the air, with the most recent Davis Cup Finals Group Stage taking place over the past week in four European cities, Bologna, Manchester, Valencia and Split.

Two-time Davis Cup winner and current Australian captain, Hewitt, successfully guided his country to the knockout stages for a second consecutive year, but he is clearly not happy with the current state of the competition.

“We’ve seen what’s happened. This was meant to be a 25-year thing, and it’s turned into a four-year disaster,” said Hewitt. “Until changes are made, we’re going to sit back and go through exactly the same stuff every year.”

The 42-year-old continued, “The two greatest things that Davis Cup had was best-of-five sets [and playing home and away]. There’s something special about playing home and away.

“Some of my greatest memories are playing in front of packed Australian crowds … but as a team bonding and working together, playing in places like Brazil, Spain and France, with 15-20,000 people barracking against you, you find out how tough you really are.”

A lot of the justification used for the changes in format for the Davis Cup were to reduce competition for players throughout the year, however the current format sees everyone bar the previous year’s finalists playing up to three separate occasions per year.

Hewitt has questioned this, “This was promised to be shorter for the players … I played this great competition for over 20 years, and not that many times, I played more than twice in a year.”

He continued, “If I was able to make a semi-final or a final and play three or four [times], I’d do it in a heartbeat, and I’m sure every single one would. There’s a reason why [Roger] Federer, [Rafael] Nadal, [Novak] Djokovic, these guys, were playing it – they wanted their name on that trophy. It’s something special to be able to do it in front of your home fans, or in front of massive stadiums, and we came bloody close last year, but it’s a completely different feeling, let me tell you.

“We’ve spoken about the two-year plan, playing over two years, and the two finalists having a bye. I’ve spoken about that since 2004, after we made four finals in five years, and no one listens. I can say it until the cows come home, but they’ve really screwed it up.”

Hewitt will return to the Davis Cup later this year, when the Davis Cup knockout stages take place in Malaga between 21st and 26th November.

Davis Cup 2023 Quarter-finalists

Despite Malaga being the hosts of the knockout stages, Spain will not be present at the Davis Cup Finals after failing to advance from their group.

These are the eight nations that will be competing for the prestigious title:

  • Canada
  • Italy 
  • Great Britain
  • Australia 
  • Czech Republic
  • Serbia
  • The Netherlands
  • Finland

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.