Madrid has emerged as the most likely candidate to host the new format of the Davis Cup, proposed by Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué and backed not only by the ITF but also leading tennis stars including Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Piqué’s investment company Kosmos was given the green light to go ahead with a complete revamp of the competition at a general assembly of the ITF held in Orlando last week, the plan to condense the tournament into a week at a single location reaping 71 percent of the votes cast.
Although nothing has yet been made official, Piqué gave a verbal agreement to the Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET) that the final stage of the tournament, which will take place in February as of 2019, would be hosted by Madrid for the first two years. It was that promise that led the RFET to alter its position on the proposal and vote in favour of the new format. Lille is also a contender but it is likely that Spain’s pedigree in the tournament, the presence of Nadal, the wealth of possible stadiums in the Spanish capital and Piqué’s influence will tip the balance towards Madrid. Under the new format, this year's semi-finalists qualify automatically for the 2019 tournament, which means Spain are already confirmed in the field for next year.
Madrid the leading candidate to host Davis Cup in 2019 and 2020
In that case, the group stage will be held at the Caja Mágica, where the annual Madrid Masters takes place, with the Madrid Arena (10,500 seats) and the Wizink Center (15,000 seats) potential venues for the semi-finals and final.
RFET president Miguel Díaz told AS last week that he had “high hopes” Madrid would be the chosen city and Piqué has a pre-agreement in place with Madrid City Hall, which runs the Wizink Center, to share the costs of hosting the tournament.
After 2020, the Davis Cup will move to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which hosts the Masters 1000 tournament of the same name and is owned by US businessman Larry Ellison, who recently threw his weight behind Piqué’s project. After a spell at Indian Wells, the competition will then move around the world year-to-year.