Davis Cup move to Abu Dhabi met with mixed reception
The Davis Cup is poised to be moved to Abu Dhabi for five years after new owners Kosmos Tennis have arranged to move tennis’ first international tournament to the Middle East.
In 2018, The ITF and Kosmos Tennis, founded by Spanish footballer Gerard Pique, announced a $3 billion (£2.25 billion) partnership for 25 years of tournament staging.
The deal led to the creation of a Finals that consisted of 18 teams and spelt the end of the traditional format of home and away ties.
Should the event be moved to Abu Dhabi, it would not conclude until early December and faces a possible clash with the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar.
The proposals for the move have been met with a mixed response with both France and Great Britain captains calling for further discussions involving players and captains.
Great Britain captain Leon Smith said “I understand that things had to change, and between the ITF and Kosmos they’re still trying to find what’s going to work best, but I think there’s got to be an open dialogue about what happens next in this and still trying to find a solution to make sure this remains one of the most important things in the calendar.
“If you talk to any of the players or the captains who’ve experienced the atmosphere, the environment is so important. Whether that’s home, whether that’s away, it’s got to be full crowds, it’s got to be what’s best for the players and the schedules.”
Similarly France captain Sebastien Grosjean wants a format similar to the old style Davis Cup, saying “I think it’s time to sit down with the authorities and the players to see how we can bring the Davis Cup back to the home-and-away format, to find a formula that will allow it to be integrated into the calendar and for the best players to come and play it.”
This year’s Davis Cup is about to get underway and is being held across three separate European cities in Turin, Madrid and Innsbruck.
World number one Novak Djokovic has revealed he is a fan of the new multi-city format, saying “the Davis Cup should be experienced by more people. So I’m in favour of this year’s format and that there are more countries that can host group ties.”
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