What do we love about the Davis Cup? Passion, home and away ties, raucous crowds and an epic five set encounter.
After the second edition of the revamped Davis Cup Finals, as well as the future plans for the tournament, it is safe to say the event is well and truly dead.
The idea was to attract the highest ranked players in the world, and yes a few showed up, but a lot didn’t, which is the same as the previous format that encapsulated tennis fans.
The Davis Cup Finals ‘Presented by Ratuken’, is nothing more than a gimmick and a money making scheme by the ITF and financial backer, Kosmos, led by Spanish World Cup winning footballer Gerard Pique.
It now holds 18 teams instead of 16, returning to the latter next year at least, with various qualifiers and zones around the world, and instead of knockout rounds there are six round robin groups of three teams, with six teams progressing after winning their group and a further two as the ‘best second place getters’ in their group.
The format makes absolutely no sense, rewarding mediocrity and some teams that don’t top their group.
Serbia making the semifinals and Sweden reaching the quarters was a complete joke, it eradicates all the pressure that is associated with a Davis Cup tie because there could be another chance after surrendering a tie.
There was something special about a Davis Cup tie, with the first two rubbers setting up the second day of doubles action which in turn could produce tantalising matchups on the final day.
When a tie went to a deciding fifth set in a live fifth rubber, the electricity was palpable and unparalleled. Now we end in three sets, it just doesn’t have any meaning.
Home and Away ties were everything, as there were generally fans from a visiting country scattered throughout a stadium, but when the home crowd was vocal, they were vocal. Just go watch footage from a tie in Argentina or Europe, you will get chills.
Now we only witness tennis in three cities, how is this fair?
It has become the European Cup, the USA and Australia are the two most successful nations in Davis Cup history and they are now rid of the opportunity to host any part of the event barring qualifiers in March, which nobody will bat an eyelid at.
What’s worse is that there is an event commencing in literally under four weeks that is identical to the Davis Cup, and more exciting for that matter, the ATP Cup.
This event, sanctioned by the ATP to be held in Australia in January, gives more nations a chance to compete, as well as granting the players an opportunity to earn ranking points, more than what the DC offers.
The fact that these two events take place within a month of each other makes no sense, providing a handy argument as to why the Davis Cup should return to the format that stood for over a century.
Alas, that doesn’t look like it will happen with a possible announcement of Abu Dhabi to host next year’s final stages, all a money making coup and flogging the dead horse that this event has become.
Allegedly there will be more cities hosting the group stages next year, with one city to host the finals, but again, it was never broken so stop trying to fix it.
The Davis Cup was unwatchable in 2021, and it will remain so until it is returned to its former glory or even abolished.
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