Mr Shakira And The Multi-Billion Pound Revamp Of The Davis Cup

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is behind a £2billion revamp of the tennis tournament
12:26, 18 Nov 2019

Premier international tennis tournament the Davis Cup, fast approaching the 120th anniversary of its inauguration, is currently undergoing a mammoth £2.5billion face-lift.

Having originally been founded in 1900 as a competition between Great Britain and the United States of America, it is the oldest and longest-lasting team event in tennis. 

The new investment has been pledged over the course of a 25-year period and, in order to freshen up the event on the tennis calendar, it will present a brand-new structure at this week's event in Madrid.

Sparking controversy and wide debate is the man behind the movement and the $3billion pledge - Barcelona defender and Spain international, Mr Shakira himself, Gerard Piqué.

Piqué, 32, fronts the Kosmos company who are behind the initiative, of which his Barca teammate Lionel Messi is also an investor.

"Sometimes things have to change, or they have the risk to die," said Piqué, who proclaims he has the backing of close friend, compatriot, and tennis superstar Rafael Nadal.

The new format for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) event at this 108th edition will be recognisable for those familiar with the football World Cup. Beginning on Monday 18th November, it will see 18 nations from across the world in a confined week-long event.

The old structure took place across four weekends of the calendar year between February and November, with home and away ties. Now, after an initial group stage, the table-toppers and best second-place finishers will advance to the quarter-finals.

The more streamlined-format is seemingly designed to be more accessible it will aim to attract renewed attention.

Great Britain’s team, through on a wildcard, have already converged in the Spanish capital in preparation for the tournament. They begin their campaign in Group E which also contains Kazakhstan and the Netherlands. 

Of the six groups of three, defending champions Croatia have been placed in Group B with Spain and Russia.

Matches will no longer be played in best-of-five sets, reducing them to three, and ties will consist of two singles and one doubles.

The plans have proved divisive but Andy Murray, a man who helped break Britain’s nearly 80-year-old duck in the competition in 2015, has also voiced his support for the new changes.

Speaking to the BBC, he said:  "Tennis is not always the easiest to make changes in and this is a big change. I think there's some people that seem to be hoping it doesn't go well but I hope it goes really well and that it's a big success. 

“The players and all of the fans need to try to give it a chance to see how it goes and I think we'll have a better idea after the tournament's finished."

Former Wimbledon champion and Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt however has been one of the more prominent voices to speak out against the changes. 

"We're getting run by a Spanish football player,” the 38-year-old has previously stated.

 “That's like me coming out and making changes to the Champions League.”

The 2019 Davis Cup culminates on Sunday 24 November.

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