A few days ago a French colleague of mine called me and asked, that after after many years living in the Spanish capital city, would Zidane see himself as another "Madrileño" (citizen of Madrid). I replied that he would certainly see himself as a Real Madrid fan but possibly not see himself as adopted son of the city. It's somewhat of a cliche, but Spain's capital is a city full of welcoming, open people Madrid who enjoy a chat and a late night. I don't see Zidane in this light. I hung up thinking, that, yes, Gerard Piqué does fit with this profile. He's appeared to be happy this week here in the city, chatting to everyone, posing for photos, coming and going. An adopted "Madrileño" but with a Catalan business acumen who has been instrumental in bring the new format of the Davis Cup to a city that is always open to new and fresh ideas.
New David Cup format
This was a new twist on the Davis Cup as we saw games of doubles that stretched into the night with one not finishing until four in the morning. It reminded me of the "Seis Días Ciclistas de Madrid" competition that ran from 1960-1986 and was also brought to the Spanish capital by a Catalan, Carlos Pardo and also used to see competition run through the night. There were voices of objection for the late night sessions and Piqué did say afterwards that he would look to include an extra court and possibly hold the tournament in the centrally located WiZink Center next year. In general terms, what started out as somewhat of a daring experiment has had a positive overall result. This new format of the Davis Cup has been a success and has been a positive change from the old and decaying format.
Piqué's venture was also boosted by Rafa Nadal, who won all his points in singles and doubles in games played in both day and night. The final did finish at a decent hour, thanks in part to Bautista winning his game with the Castellon born playing after recently losing his father. These are the types of gestures that further our admiration for many in the world of sport. Looking back, the event was a responding success for Spanish tennis and a great advertisement for the city of Madrid, which became the epicentre of world tennis for the week. Credit must go to Piqué, who is a daring and charming type (and possibly a little brazen at times) who saw an opportunity and was brave enough to push through with this new successful ventures.