Novak Djokovic - US Open 2023

Novak Djokovic claims Davis Cup ‘format needs an overhaul’

Novak Djokovic has called for changes to be made to the Davis Cup, slamming the ITF for ‘never consulting’ the players on these issues.

Djokovic is coming off the back of his 24th Grand Slam title victory at the US Open, as he prepares to represent his country at the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage.

The Davis Cup is entering its 113th year, but has come under much scrutiny in recent times following a change in the format after Kosmos went into partnership with the ITF back in 2018.

Kosmos was founded by former professional footballer Gerard Pique, with the partnership causing a large reduction in the popular home-and-away ties and electing for host nations instead.

However, the planned 25-year collaboration was terminated in January earlier this year and there is a current legal dispute between Kosmos and the ITF.

Three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka is one of those to criticise the event in this past week, posting a video on social media of a depleted crowd for Switzerland’s tie against France in Manchester.

The Swiss said, “Thank you @3gerardpique @ITFTennis! @DavisCup France vs Switzerland in Manchester lol.”

Pique responded by saying, “Last year attendance in the group stage. You can compare it for yourself @stanwawrinka. We don’t organize it anymore. Ask the @ITFTennis…”

And now 2010 Davis Cup winner, Djokovic, has had his say when speaking to press, “The format needs an overhaul, of course, but not being in the ITF I can’t tell you what’s going on.”

The Serb continued, “I hope they consult the players for the change because they never consult us. I think players should participate much more in these types of changes, we all have to sit down together and talk about the future. If the ITF doesn’t do things right, I honestly don’t know what will happen to this tournament.

“For the sake of tennis and its history, this competition must survive, because it is the longest-running team competition we have. There is nothing more important than representing your country, so we’ll see how they redefine the format.”

Although Wawrinka criticised Pique, Djokovic was not willing to do so, “I don’t think it’s Piqué’s fault, so I’m not going to criticise him. I think that the ITF is the one who makes that last decision, the one they made five years ago to modify the format.

“He joined the Kosmos Group because they saw an opportunity to grow, but I don’t see anyone complaining to the ITF. The format generates various opinions, some in favour and others against, but five years ago everyone was betting on a change of format, everyone agreed that the old format needed a change.”

Djokovic added, “Now it’s time to find that balance with a format that works. The first year, in 2019, everyone played in Madrid, leaving 99% of countries without the possibility of playing at home. Serbia, for example, has not played a home qualifier for 4-5 years, it is too long for us, a long time without letting the Serbs see their players.”

Despite Djokovic competing for two weeks in New York, the 36-year-old has arrived in Valencia to participate in the remaining Davis Cup Finals Group Stage ties for Serbia.

The world No.1 spoke about what is so special to him about representing his country, “I have had many experiences in my career with this competition, so my desire is to contribute in the best way possible, even knowing that I will barely have time to adapt after the US Open.

“At the beginning of the season, I said it very clearly, that this year my main objectives were the Grand Slam and defending the colours of my country, helping them to be in the final in Malaga.”

Djokovic will look to confirm Serbia’s place in the Davis Cup knockout stages later today, when they take on Spain, who are without Carlos Alcaraz.

Novak Djokovic at the Davis Cup

Djokovic first competed in the Davis Cup back in 2004, and we at Tennishead have looked into his record in the prestigious competition he is so fond of.

Ties played: 32

Overall win-loss record: 42-13

Singles win-loss record: 38-7

Doubles win-loss record: 4-6

Titles won: 1 (2010)

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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.