Arguably the most influential centre back of the present time, Barcelona’s Gerard Pique is now trying to revolutionise the idea of the Tennis World Cup. In the currently ongoing Madrid Open, the Spanish centre back has met the current ATP chief Chris Kermode to propose his idea of the 16-nation world cup of Tennis. He is already receiving support from the giants of the game namely the world no. 1 Sir Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
The current tournament that runs overshadowing the world cup is the Davis Cup which has been receiving criticism for many years. The Davis Cup constitutes of 16 nation teams which play in a knockout format over the year in the months of February, April, September and the finals in November. There have been many issues raised against the current format by many participating nations. The tennis stars like Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray have been forced to miss the Davis Cup weekends on account of the preparations for the Grand Slams.
A 10-day long event in a single location with 16 participating nations in a knock out format is what Pique originally proposed. This format can bring certain issues of the current Cup to end. Murray came ahead in support of the new tournament, “I think that it’s a really exciting idea,” Murray said, “If it comes off, I think it would be a very, very good thing for tennis. I think there’s still a lot of things that need to be worked out before it potentially happens, but I think it would be a very good thing for tennis.”
Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam Champion too came forward to support his Spanish compatriot. He said, “For many years they have been static. They haven’t moved with the times or looked for new solutions. Pique is part of a group that wants to create a World Cup that would be a great and very interesting tournament to compete in.”
Djokovic too shared his thoughts about the new proposal. The 12-time Grand Slam champion said, “To see one of the football greats coming to the tennis world and trying to support it personally, but also in some structural business way, can only bring positives to our sport. The tennis world is complex if I can say, because there are many different governing bodies and many different associations that have the control over certain aspects of the game or tournaments. The schedule is quite complicated, but I’m really glad that there are people like Gerard that are willing to invest the time and energy to make this game better, so hopefully it’s going to come to life.’
Witnessing positive support from the tennis stars, the proposal for the World Cup does certainly seem to be realisable possibility. There might arrive some new hitches on the way of this new format. The current Cup allows the tournament to be held in home away format which is one of the main reason for its local attraction among the participating nations. But localising the tournament to a single location might reduce this spirit among the audience. Such kind of a tournament has never tried on an international scale which gives no testimonials for its future success.
The ITF responded to the fuss created by the news while speaking to the BBC, “Our focus is not on what other bodies are trying to do, but in successfully delivering Davis Cup as the world cup of tennis to millions of fans in over 120 nations each year. A number of significant changes to the competition’s structure, prize money and format will be voted on by all tennis nations at the ITF AGM in August.”
Seen from the statements of the players it seems that the new proposal is attractive for the players who have to miss the Davis Cup. If the clauses of the new proposal are framed well to suit the interests of the participating nations, we shall soon see a World Cup for Tennis.