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The Davis Cup is emerging from its crisis. There are many top players in the groups that Djokovic leads

Date: October 2, 2023 Time: 07:18:15

Just a couple of decades ago, the Davis Cup was an absolutely top tournament. And in Russia there was a special attitude towards him. Is it possible to forget the victory in the KD-1995 semifinals over the German team, contributed by Andrei Chesnokov, who in the decisive match with Michael Stich saved nine match points? No less memorable was the offensive defeat in the final of the same year against the American team, which brought a lineup of megastars: Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier. Both meetings took place in Moscow.

Additionally, our boys won the tournament three times. In 2002, Mikhail Youzhny’s victory took place in Paris, in 2006 the Argentines were defeated in Moscow, and in 2021, when the tournament was held in a new format, the trophy was won by Daniil Medvedev, Andrei Rublev, Aslan Karatsev, Karen . Khachanov and Evgeniy Donskoy, performing under the flag of the Russian Tennis Federation.

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By the way, about the new format. Gradually, the popularity of the Davis Cup began to fade and it became clear: the tournament needed changes. The former Barcelona and Spanish national team player Gerard Piqué took charge of the matter. Piqué, founder and president of the Kosmos investment group, has proposed investing $3 billion in the Davis Cup over 25 years. The vote in favor of the reforms took place in mid-August 2018 and 71% of tennis federations supported Piqué’s ideas.

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First of all, the traditional format was changed as follows: the entire World Group competes in one place for one week, 18 teams are divided into six groups of three teams each, the top eight advance to the quarterfinals, then to the semi-finals and the final. To win a match, a team must win two matches (not three); At the same time, matches began to be played in a three-set format, instead of a five-set one (this change was introduced a little earlier, in 2018).

Two tournaments were held in this way and in 2022 the format was slightly modified. The group stage of the competition is now held separately from the playoff stage. In addition, each group plays in its own city, but from the quarterfinals onwards everyone meets in one city.

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This year the groups were formed as follows:

Group A (Bologna, Italy) – Canada (defending champion), Chile, Italy, Sweden; Group B (Manchester, United Kingdom) – Australia, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland; Group C (Valencia, Spain) – Czech Republic, Serbia, Republic of Korea, Spain; Group D (Split, Croatia) – Croatia, Finland, Netherlands, United States.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals. The playoffs will take place in Malaga (Spain) in November. The 2023 Davis Cup will be marked by the presence of the 24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic. The Serbian said in July that he intended to act. “I will play this year. I’m looking forward to this event. I didn’t play last year and I felt guilty because I was hoping the boys would get through the group stage in Valencia and I could join them in Malaga. This format has been in development for several years, but last year we had a tough group. The schedule is not very convenient because the matches start a week after the US Open. I hope to be healthy and available,” Sportklub.rs quotes Djokovic in July this year.

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But two-time TBS champion Carlos Alcaraz, after losing to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semifinals, refused to participate in the Davis Cup group stage. However, even without Alcaraz, fans will have someone to follow: Denis Shapovalov will compete for Canada, Lorenzo Musetti for Italy, three-time Major winner Andy Murray for Great Britain, another three-time TBS champion Stan Wawrinka for Switzerland, Alex de Minaur. for Australia, United States – Francis Tiafoe, for Croatia – Borna Coric.

Murray said in a pre-tournament press conference: “As soon as I came off the court after losing to Grigor Dimitrov at the 2023 US Open, I was not in the best condition as I was eliminated from the Slam.” I told Captain Leon Smith that if he didn’t need me, I would totally understand. But for some reason he asked me to come and I accepted.

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I have always liked to participate in the Davis Cup and any other competition in which I have to represent my country. We have a great team and I love being part of it. And the coaches are wonderful. Everyone gets along great. I really believe we can win the tournament. It’s a great motivation to be part of this. I want to help the team in any way I can, whether on or off the field. Let’s see what happens.”

What about Russia? And Russia, unfortunately, does not participate in the competition for the second time in a row. Our boys and girls have the right to compete only in neutral status in singles and doubles, but were excluded from team competitions.

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And yes, the Davis Cup remains a problematic tournament. In January of this year it was learned that Kosmos had filed a million-dollar lawsuit before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Kosmos seeks to recover funds from the ITF for the “unreasonable” termination of the contract that existed between both parties to organize the Davis Cup for 25 years, and for the damage that said termination causes to the company.

We remind you that Kosmos and the ITF ceased their cooperation due to financial disagreements. Piquet’s company was obliged to pay for each Davis Cup by contributing funds worth 40 million euros, but during the pandemic the conditions were reviewed. Payments of €10 million and €19 million were received from Kosmos. The ITF hoped that in 2023 payments would return to their previous volumes, but this did not happen. The parties did not reach a compromise and terminated the contract.

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Furthermore, not all players reacted positively to the new format. In December 2022, the tournament was criticized by Nick Kyrgios. “The special feature of the Davis Cup was the home and away matches. Now the tournament has lost its charm. This is no longer the Davis Cup. This is a tournament I don’t need to play in,” French journalist Quentin Moine quotes Kyrgios as saying.

And Wawrinka, who defends the colors of Switzerland, already ridiculed the low attendance in the current tournament. He drew attention to the empty stands before the start of the France-Switzerland match. “Thank you Gerard Piqué and the ITF! “Davis Cup” France-Switzerland in Manchester, hahaha,” Wawrinka wrote on his social media.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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