Davis Cup organizers hope expanding venues solve planning issues
MADRID – The extension of the Davis Cup finals to more venues will help attract more fans and avoid some of the late finishes that hampered the first edition of the revamped event, organizers said on Thursday.
Madrid were the sole hosts of the inaugural edition of the restructured Davis Cup final in 2019. This time, the Spanish capital will co-host the tournament with Innsbruck, Austria, and Turin, Italy.
The 18-nation men’s tennis competition will take place on hard courts from November 25 to December 5. Last year’s event in Madrid was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona captain Gerard Pique, co-founder of the Kosmos group behind the news Davis Cup finals, said the changes would give more fans a chance to watch the games.
“Some matches ended very late, so we made the decision to go to other cities and play in 11 days instead of seven,” Pique said at the event’s official launch on Thursday. “The event has evolved, matured.”
After the first edition of the tournament, organizers said adjustments were needed to improve the new format of the international team event, which for 120 years was played throughout the year and in venues around the world. The 2019 competition saw the nations playing in a single week in Madrid.
Organizers had considered building more courts to help resolve scheduling issues that led to very late arrivals in Madrid. The match between Italy and the United States was among many that ended after midnight, ending at 4:04 a.m. local time. Other meetings took almost nine hours to wrap up and went well in subsequent sessions, prompting complaints from players, coaches and fans.
The venue for the event in Madrid has been changed from the Caja Magica tennis complex to Madrid Arena, which for now is expected to be at 50% capacity due to the pandemic.
“We’ll see when we can sell more tickets,” Pique said. “I am optimistic that we will be able to play near full capacity.”
The venue in Innsbruck will be the Olympia-Halle and Turin will host matches at the Alpitour Arena. Each city will host two of the six groups in the team event. Madrid will host two groups as well as two rounds of quarter-finals, the semi-finals and the final. Innsbruck and Turin will each get a quarter-final.
Each city will host the country’s national team in the group stage.
The revamped Davis Cup is the result of a 25-year partnership between the International Tennis Federation and Kosmos to make traditional team competition more attractive and lucrative.