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Thread: RIP Davis Cup?

  1. #31

    Re: RIP Davis Cup?

    borna coric
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    My thoughts about #Daviscup

    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  2. #32

    Re: RIP Davis Cup?

    Jon Wertheim interviewed ITF president David Haggerty on his podcast last week and asked why the ITF committed to such drastic change longterm. Haggerty said you just have to make change work, that's all there is to it. He brunshed off the idea of testing the waters. I fundamentally disagree. Of course, I'm not a businessperson. He and Larry Ellison know a lot more about building things. I guess this is just what disappointed me the most - the blind commitment to what may well be a failure.

    I wonder what the stakeholders got out of this. I wonder if we will ever know.
    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

  3. #33

    Re: RIP Davis Cup?

    Quote Originally Posted by MeganFernandez View Post
    Jon Wertheim interviewed ITF president David Haggerty on his podcast last week and asked why the ITF committed to such drastic change longterm. Haggerty said you just have to make change work, that's all there is to it. He brunshed off the idea of testing the waters. I fundamentally disagree. Of course, I'm not a businessperson. He and Larry Ellison know a lot more about building things. I guess this is just what disappointed me the most - the blind commitment to what may well be a failure.

    I wonder what the stakeholders got out of this. I wonder if we will ever know.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  4. #34

    Re: RIP Davis Cup?

    This is about a lot more than DC but DC is the jump off point for the article.

    Game changer: Davis Cup reforms could produce big shake-up
    By Kamakshi Tandon :: Posted September 19, 2018

    While the Davis Cup semifinals were underway last week, a bigger contest for control of the sport’s team events was unfolding behind the scenes. The ITF’s recent vote to transform the competition into a one-week, 18-nation event in a single location, coupled with the ATP’s decision to re-start its own, similar World Team Cup, has opened up a battleground that could have far-reaching repercussions across the tour.

    Having two national team competitions — and having them just six weeks apart — seems “insane,” as even ATP CEO Chris Kermode put it, and it is puzzling that things even got to this point in the first place. But when soccer player Gerard Pique made his initial approach to the ITF about a World Cup-style tennis competition, its change-adverse leader at the time, Francesco Ricci Bitti, would not hear of such radical reform. Rebuffed, Pique went to the ATP and found it receptive at first, rummaging up its shelved Dusseldorf-based event as a potential vehicle. Then that also broke down, prompting Pique to return to the ITF, which was now led by the change-oriented David Haggerty and eager to bring him on.

    The ATP, though, still pursued its idea, finding a Chinese investment group and getting the backing of Tennis Australia, which saw the World Team Cup as an appealing lead-up to the Australian Open. The ITF announced an agreement to reform the Davis Cup with Pique’s investment group, Kosmos, worth around $125 million annually.

    Talks were attempted by the ITF and ATP to avoid an obvious clash, but did not go anywhere. That became apparent when the ATP declared plans for its World Team Cup just before Wimbledon, followed by the ITF approving its reforms in a highly contentious vote at the organization’s Annual General Meeting.

    Now the potential for conflict seems far higher than the potential for co-operation, and is also drawing in the game’s other major constituencies. Here’s a look at the lines of contention.

    ITF vs. ATP

    Finding ground for the two sides to work together is difficult. A combined ITF and ATP team competition is geographically unlikely. Tennis Australia’s involvement means the World Team Cup is committed to being in Australia, while the ITF has pledged its first two finals to Europe, likely Madrid or Lille.

    There could be some movement on the dates, but juggling the packed tennis schedule is far from simple. There are currently four Davis Cup weeks in the season, so on the surface it seems like the new competition would lighten the load. But perhaps not.

    While new Davis Cup has been slotted into the final week in November, the timing is not very palatable to the players, who do not want it to interrupt their off-season break. That might be why Pique told Le Figaro he wants to organize with the ATP to move the competition to September.

    There is already a Davis Cup round in September, but not in a good spot — it is played the week following the US Open. But if it were moved to the following week, as the ITF likely wants, it would conflict not just with ATP events but also with the Roger Federer-created Laver Cup, which technically an exhibition, but an event with deep pockets attracting most top ten players.

    “We have our dates. We’re not moving,” Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick, told as an aside at the US Open.

    On top of that, there’s talk of a ten-day Davis Cup, which would require two weeks in the schedule. The ITF could give the ATP one of its other three weeks in return for a two-week spot, but it has allocated a week to a compromise round of home-and-away ties, and Haggerty has told The New York Times that the ITF has plans for two new events in its other weeks. That could lead to ITF events taking up four or five weeks during the regular season, to which the ATP would object loudly.

    If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, the tour could start scheduling ATP events at the same time as Davis Cup and the other planned ITF events. And it might not stop there — if the ATP gives more favorable scheduling and ATP points to the World Team Cup while refusing to do the same for Davis Cup, the ITF could file an antitrust lawsuit, throwing the game into protracted conflict. Conversely, the ATP could also accuse the ITF of imposing its own requirements on players. If either side goes to the courts, it is likely to be hugely expensive and damaging for both organizations.

    Even if that does not happen, it seems obvious that just having two national-team events side-by-side will produce confusion and impede each other. The Davis Cup has more history, while the World Team Cup is more convenient, but it is yet to be seen which will be more successful in winning players and popularity in these new forms.

    Both plan to offer around $20 million in player prize money, but the ITF’s agreement with Pique and his group is by far the more lucrative — so lucrative, there are questions about whether the group can break even and whether it will keep ploughing in funds if it does not.

    Haggerty, speaking in an interview at the US Open, explained the ITF had done a “due diligence” process with a top accounting firm, in addition to assigning four board members to look at the offer and provide an assessment to the federations.

    ”It’s essentially a licensing agreement where we work together on the operations of the Davis Cup finals. So they have broadcast and sponsorship rights, they give us guarantees, but again, it’s a collaborative effort,” he said.

    Haggerty also said funding has been provided along with bank guarantees, but a letter from Tennis Europe before the vote suggested that some federations were told the total amount of the guarantees was around $82 million.

    Several of the large tennis nations were split on the reforms, both internally and externally. While top player participation has declined, the Davis Cup still has a tight hold in large corners of the sport. Among those in favor of reform was the United States, along with the French Tennis Federation (FFT) president — despite opposition from French players. Tennis Australia, which has an interest in the World Team Cup, was against it, as was Germany. The UK’s LTA also announced that it would be voting no, against the expressed preference of Wimbledon, but there are still some questions about whether it actually did as said.

    Still, Haggerty is insistent the federations “are aligning together” following the vote, with nations like Germany, Serbia and Poland pledging to now back the reforms. But there are lingering concerns about improprieties around the securing of votes — there are allegations or admissions of various offers around more than 43 votes — sufficient to swing the balance required — and it is rumoured some nations have even spoken of an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    ATP vs. ATP

    This is not just about the ITF and the ATP — there are also issues within the ATP itself. Billionaire Larry Ellison, who owns Indian Wells, recently became an investor in Kosmos, which came with a commitment to eventually hold a Davis Cup finals at Indian Wells.

    The tournament had apparently been interested in holding the World Team Cup before the ATP went with Tennis Australia.

    The ATP in turn has contacted Indian Wells, informing them that holding the Davis Cup finals could be a violation of its contract with the ATP. But, considering Ellison’s involvement in tying up the America’s Cup yachting competition in such disputes, that might not be a good move.

    The ATP has been getting more involved in running events, and now has the NextGen Finals and the World Team Cup along with the season-capping ATP Tour Finals. That could increase tension with other tournaments in its role of running the men’s tour.

    As it is, ATP players and tournaments are at odds about prize money increases, especially at the Masters level.

    The player representatives on the ATP board, notably Justin Gimbelstob, are demanding a 19 percent annual increase for the Masters 1000s, according to L’Equipe, having already received double digit increases in recent years. While some events, like Indian Wells, want to provide even more, most are digging in their heels. The ATP board, which consists of three tournament and three player representatives along with the CEO, is almost at a standstill on this issue.

    It appears Novak Djokovic is leading the charge for more pay from the Player Council, like by publicly calling for the ATP Tour Finals to look at moving to other locations. There are cities, especially in Asia, willing to offer extravagant sums to hold events — something the WTA Tour has taken advantage of, while the ATP has held back from going largely with the highest bidder.

    While competing at the Dubai tournament in 2015, Djokovic peculiarly suggested the tournament should become a Masters event, even though the event itself does not want to do so and the tour has no plans to increase the amount of Masters events.

    A few weeks ago, he said that he would like the Grand Slams to be the best of three sets rather than five, and argued that the sport needs more innovation. This contradicts the sport’s experience that the old-fashioned events have been the most successful.

    “But comparing to other sports in this modern times, tennis, I think, hasn’t fulfilled its potential,” said Djokovic at Cincinnati. “Tradition and history and integrity of the sport is something that is very important, but that has held us back.”

    ATP vs. WTA

    Rank-and-file agitation has had other effects. The ATP board recently refused Gstaad’s request to become a combined event, and previously looked at splitting Washington, D.C. Further back, the combined event at New Haven has had the ATP tournament go to Winston-Salem, though it is not known whether any preference was expressed by the ATP.

    Some — though not all — male players, stung by criticism for their questioning of equal prize money and tired of scrutiny around court assignments and scheduling given to male and female players, have become increasingly opposed to having dual gender events.

    But, combined events have generally been the most successful in tennis, with tournaments held together getting more spectators than men’s or women’s events on their own. Indeed, two ATP events — Atlanta and Newport, whose facilities would not allow the adding of a WTA event — have begun holding a women’s exhibition during the tournament and brought in big crowds.

    “I don’t know if it’s the next best thing, but it’s the next best thing we could think of, is to have an exhibition and give the fans some diversity of experience while they’re with us,” said Todd Martin, tournament director of Newport, in an interview during the US Open. “I think our sport has demonstrated it’s greatest when it’s aligned. Tournament vs. tournament, or gender vs. gender, or tour vs. tour, or entity vs. entity, is counterproductive to the betterment of our sport.”

    Nevertheless, it isn’t going away. The largest sticking point is equal prize money at the bigger combined events. There has been frustration among some ATP players that their prize money rise has been limited by having to share half of any increase with the women — particularly, they argue, since they collectively earn more for the tournaments and because WTA players have not joined them in the calls for more prize money.

    The ATP looked a couple of years ago at establishing a special Masters category with higher prize money for some events like Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Shanghai — these are also, apart from Dubai, the equal prize money events — but nothing has come of it yet. In the meantime, Beijing is looking to convert its ATP 500 event to a Masters, to run alongside its WTA Premier event.

    The WTA — now with its big TV contract, a lucrative new location for the WTA Finals, and potentially also a new title sponsor, according to Sports Business Journal — should now be more capable of holding its position on equal pay for the top combined events. But these contrasting sentiments are having effects on the scheduling and organization of tournaments.

    ATP vs. Grand Slams

    The Grand Slams are unlikely to consider moving away from equal prize money, and do not seem to be inclined to offer more big prize money increases either. The Australian Open might be more amenable than the others, but their general stance is that they have done plenty, as prize money at the Slams has doubled in recent years, reaching $53 million at the US Open.

    Yet, Grand Slams have also seen their earnings rise sharply, and players want another round of increases, complaining that they still get too small a portion. They have also pointed to problems with communication, saying they were not properly consulted about the introduction of the shot clock.

    Although members of the ATP board, player council and representatives have been organizing the conversation with the Slams, the Slams have become increasingly reluctant to have the ATP involved. That could produce more talk of a player union, which Djokovic brought up at the player meeting at the Australian Open. But whether the players can even agree among themselves on any form of collective action is another issue altogether.

    The Slams, on the other hand, appear willing to assert themselves if there is any confrontation.

    The changes to the team events add another layer of friction. The chairman of the All England Club, Philip Brook, backed the Davis Cup reforms simply as a counter to the ATP’s — and Tennis Australia’s — plans, according to The Telegraph.

    Grand Slams vs. each other

    It is also a reflection of the fissures between the Slams themselves. Under Craig Tiley’s leadership, Tennis Australia has become involved in both the World Team Cup and Laver Cup, along with being a voting member of the ITF and vocal opponent of the Davis Cup changes. The other Slams are wary of its ambitions, and of it potentially breaking ranks on prize money.

    Tennis Australia, on the other hand, has seemed unwary of the conflicts that it has got into, and could find itself in some awkward positions as its partners tussle with each other.

    The USTA is also a partner of Laver Cup and a proponent of the Davis Cup reforms; it could be similarly conflicted in any scheduling argument between the competitions. That is on top of USTA Chief Executive, Professional Tennis Stacey Allaster’s questionable campaign for rule changes like on-court coaching and the shot clock, some of which have exasperated the others.

    The Davis Cup reforms have exacerbated the crisis at the FFT, where unpopular president Bernard Giudicelli voted for the changes despite strident opposition from French players and those involved in the game. Giudicelli also benefited from an ITF rule adjustment that allowed him to stay on the board despite what in France is considered a criminal conviction, a move which has also been highly questioned. The federation’s influence and effectiveness will be hampered while all this persists.

    As far as the game’s team competitions are concerned, the intrigue is as high off the court as on it.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  5. #35
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    Woody's Avatar
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    Re: RIP Davis Cup?

    This is going to get messy and hurt everyone's brand. I think everyone involved is going to really regret missing a golden opportunity here. There are multiple bona fide superstars on both tours that are bigger than the sport itself. Roger, Rafa, Serena, and to a slightly lesser extent (but only outside of Europe) Novak, are virtually household names, tennis fan or not. Any one of those players could singlehandedly build new markets, just by committing to play there for the first 3 years or whatever. But this is at odds with what each individual player wants. They want to play the majors, they have to play the Masters/Premiers, either because they're not exempt or because they need those huge points for ranking, and they grudgingly play their 500's and a 250. I've said it several times before, but outside the majors, they really should try to spread out that star power. By reducing the Masters requirements, the tour could commit to providing quotas for tournaments in new markets. If you meet the financial commitments for a 500, you're guaranteed entries from at least 1 top-5, 2 top-10's and 4 top-20's or something like that.
    By letting more markets have access to those marquee players throughout the year, it would reduce the pressure on the 52-week schedule and they could pretty easily add these team events that everybody clearly wants.

  6. #36

    Re: RIP Davis Cup?

    In a few years those marquee players won't be around. Then what?
    Starry starry night

  7. #37

    Re: RIP Davis Cup?

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    In a few years those marquee players won't be around. Then what?
    A few years you said?

    Thread by @stu_fraser:

    Serious doubts over participation of top players at the inaugural Davis Cup Finals in November 2019. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic both refused to commit at this stage despite the offer of a wild card, and now Alexander Zverev has ruled himself out.

    Zverev: "Making a tournament at the end of November, it’s crazy. By the end of the year, we are all tired. No, it’s not happening, and I guarantee you I will not be the only one."

    A rare conference call between all of tennis's governing bodies took place last week on the issue but several stumbling blocks remain. Gerard Pique regularly contacting different figures within the sport in an attempt to find a solution. Two team events still most likely outcome.
    ‏Tess Claydon

    Replying to @stu_fraser @DavidLawTennis
    Why are people surprised. Always was gonna be the case. Rediculous idea poorly thought out. Hope it fails.

    Replying to @stu_fraser
    On his latest podcast John Wertheim mentioned that he has heard the money is now in doubt - not as much available as was originally alluded to apparently. Wonder if that is linked to the appearance - or lack thereof - the top stars.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  8. #38
    Everyday Warrior MJ2004's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Re: RIP Davis Cup?

    The big stars have paid their dues, but Zverev...


  9. #39

    Re: RIP Davis Cup?

    Quote Originally Posted by MJ2004 View Post
    The big stars have paid their dues, but Zverev...

    I agree. He really does think he's achieved legend status doesn't he?

    That said his unwillingness to participate may be the tip of the iceberg. If many of the NextGen's refuse to participate the event could be in trouble.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  10. #40

    Re: RIP Davis Cup?

    But if that money is an issue, that could be why Zverev is refusing so strongly. Wasn't he the one who was demanding a very high appearance fee that usually isn't given to players like him at this stage of his career?

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