Gerard Pique’s Davis Cup slammed by Zverev after his £2.5bn deal ends
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Alexander Zverev has slammed Gerard Pique’s attempt to revive the Davis Cup after the International Tennis Federation ended their £2.5billion ($3bn), 25-year deal with Pique’s Kosmos group after just five years. The world No 14 has now taken a swipe at the retired footballer as he claimed that “you can’t buy history with money”.
Zverev is part of Germany’s team for their Davis Cup qualifier tie against Switzerland this weekend, in what is the first leg of Davis Cup action since the ITF announced that it had ended its 25-year deal with Pique’s Kosmos group after five years and would stage the men’s world cup of tennis alone for 2023.
The 25-year-old had been one of the biggest critics of Pique’s all-new format which saw an end-of-season Finals event held at a neutral event for the quarter-finals onwards instead of the old home-and-away format which was held over four weekends of the year including a singular winner-take-all final tie at the end of the season. And he has now slammed the Spaniard’s attempt to buy out the historic competition after the ITF ended the £2.5bn deal just a fifth of the way into the agreement.
“You saw that you can’t buy history with money,” the 19-time title winner told reporters ahead of Germany’s tie in a dig to Pique as he called for a return to the old format. “Sport lives from emotions and the Davis Cup was always the competition where you experienced the biggest emotions and the best atmosphere.”
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He added: “You could see that the new format doesn’t work. I believe you need home and away ties.” The Davis Cup had also switched to using the best-of-three format for matches instead of best-of-five – something the ITF is sticking with for this year’s tournament.
But the German wanted to see the longer matches make a return too, as he and his teammates said: “I am a fan of five-set matches.” Meanwhile, Germany’s Davis Cup captain said the ITF “should involve the players in the plans” for a new format going forwards with the absence of the Kosmos group.
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The ITF announced the end of its 25-year deal with Pique’s Kosmos group last month but did not give the reasons for their decision. “The ITF can confirm that its partnership with Kosmos Tennis for Davis Cup is ending,” the federation said in a statement.
The current format will continue this year before plans for another shake-up will be discussed, as the statement continued: “The ITF has ensured financial contingencies are in place and as the custodian of the competition we will operate the 2023 Qualifiers and Finals as scheduled, with the Final 8 taking place in Malaga, Spain, this November.”
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