If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
For its more than 100-year history, the Davis Cup remained largely unchanged and stood head and shoulders above the rest as the pinnacle of team-based men’s tennis.
However, when sports and entertainment promoter Kosmos Tennis took the reins and fiddled with the format it left many in the industry disillusioned.
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Now, calls are being made to restore the Davis Cup to its former glory and bring the competition back to the people.
It comes after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced its split with Kosmos, opting not to renew its agreement after just five years.”The ITF can confirm that its partnership with Kosmos Tennis for Davis Cup is ending,” a statement from the International Tennis Federation read.
“The ITF has ensured financial contingencies are in place and, as the custodian of the competition, will operate the 2023 Qualifiers and Finals as scheduled, with the Final 8 taking place in Malaga, Spain, this November.
“The ITF negotiated a strong deal for tennis in 2018. The partnership increased participation, prize money and interest in Davis Cup and produced funding to support the global development of our sport.
“As well as being focused on delivering another spectacular edition of the men’s World Cup of Tennis, we are focused on the future growth of the largest annual international team competition in sport.”
In 2018, the ITF and Kosmos parties signed a 25-year agreement to organise and develop the Davis Cup.
Started in 1900, the tournament underwent a polarising format change when Kosmos took over.
This year’s tournament was marred by the sudden inclusion of Canada, who were walloped in the qualifying stages 4-0 by the Netherlands.
Canada were given a wildcard into the final after Russia was banned from the competition following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Canada went on to beat Australia in the final, drawing the ire of Davis Cup immortal Todd Woodbridge.
“The ITF’s decision to award a wildcard to Canada into the Davis Cup finals later this year is just the latest in a string of disgraceful decisions that have done nothing but harm a once-great tournament,” he wrote in a Wide World of Sports column.
“Instead of rewarding a country that actually had a win in their opening tie from World Group I, Canada are given a free ride into the finals.
“It’s simply wrong and unfair.
“Where’s the legitimacy of having a country that has already lost going through to the finals, ahead of Chile, who were the top-ranked winners in World Group I?”
With the promoter out of the picture for 2024 and beyond, Davis Cup semi-finalist John Millman has called for the clock to be wound back.
“Let’s give tennis back to the people,” he wrote on Twitter.
“ITF has an opportunity to reignite one of sport’s oldest team competitions.
“Change the format, find a compromise with players schedules, bring back more home and away ties (especially in latter stages). The sport will always be for the fans.”
Canada downs Aussies in Davis Cup final
Kosmos, led by Spanish footballer Gerard Pique, had pledged to invest $3 billion in the tournament over the 25-year period.
Under Pique’s reign, the Davis Cup was held over just one week in a World Cup-style tournament.
Previously, the competition took place over four weeks throughout the year. Under its former guise, Australia brought the Davis Cup to the regions.
That’s something tennis coach and former world No.2 star Magnus Norman said made the Davis Cup so special.
“Hope Davis Cup will come back to home and away again,” he wrote.
“It brought tennis to the most remote places and smaller countries had a chance against bigger nations because of surface etc. I miss it as a tennis fan.”
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