Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic And Rafael Nadal Backs Footballer Gerard Pique’s Tennis ‘World Cup’Plans
Spanish footballer Gerard Pique’s idea of a week-long men’s tennis world tournament rivalling the Davis Cup has received support from leading players Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Pique faced an expectedly hostile reception when he attended the Madrid Masters for two days earlier this week from the locals, but behind closed doors his idea for a 16-team knockout tournament in one location over one week is gaining momentum among the sport’s governing bodies, and, most importantly, the world’s top players.
“I think that it’s a really exciting idea. If it comes off, I think it would be a very, very good thing for tennis,” said an enthusiastic Murray, who led Great Britain to their first Davis Cup for 79 years in 2015.
The current Davis Cup format is played over four weekends throughout the year.
Murray, Nadal and Djokovic have all led their nations to Davis Cup glory but have also opted out of playing in the tournament in order to focus on Grand Slam preparations.
Nadal also came out in support of his compatriot’s initiative. “I know from a long time there was a group (with Pique) that wants to create a World Cup that would be a great and very interesting tournament to compete in,” the 14-time grand slam champion said.
Djokovic was equally effusive, although he warned the Barcelona defender of the pitfalls in dealing with the fragmented governing bodies competing for top tennis players’ time.
“To see one of the football greats coming to the tennis world and trying to support it personally, but also in some structural business way, can only bring positives to our sport. We did talk several times,” said the Serbian 12-time Grand Slam winn
“The tennis world is complex if I can say, because there are many different governing bodies and many different associations that have the control over certain aspects of the game or tournaments.
“The schedule is quite complicated, but I’m really glad that there are people like Gerard that are willing to invest the time and energy to make this game better, so hopefully it’s going to come to life.”
Later this year the first Laver Cup tournament will also be contested, a Ryder Cup-style competition which will pit a European team featuring Roger Federer and Nadal against a rest of the world side.
The Laver Cup will be played in Prague from September 22-24.