Gerard Piqué is no longer there, whose accounts did not add up – “the agreement was too demanding for us” – and that is why he decided to cancel the project. But he lives on the idea of it. That is, previous series in February, a final access league in September – which is what it takes these days – and a final phase in November. The Barcelona footballer is no longer there, but the Davis Cup still does not bring anyone to an agreement, the eternal hum: yesterday, today and tomorrow. “They have killed her,” writes the American Mardy Fish, former player and former captain, on his social networks, following the video that Stan Wawrinka previously posted; In it, the Swiss rotates 360 degrees and shows the half-empty Manchester venue before France-Switzerland, while ironically thanking the ideologue of Kosmos and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), chaired by David Haggerty.
In Valencia, the new director of the Finals, Feliciano López, points out: “The format has everything. It maintains the home and away series, which for me is the essence of the competition, and then it has this final phase. I think that, in general terms, people are satisfied with this format and we are in a good position to continue growing; There is no one that guarantees that all the figures will come.” But the new Spanish captain, David Ferrer, does not have it all with him and suggests another twist: “I hope that this competition has more room in the future, more calendar freedom so that the players can be there. We have all dreamed of playing this competition as children, but the format would need to be given some twist, it could be worked on to make it more attractive.”
The fact is that if one reviews the ranking of the ATP and then the players registered to compete this week in La Fonteta, Bologna, Split and Manchester, the four series that host the series, you immediately notice that only one of the ten best tennis players in the world appears on the list . Of course, it’s not just anyone, but Novak Djokovic. The rest, either due to the absence of their country – Medvedev or Rublev, due to Russia’s punishment for the war – or by their own decision have resigned. Without going any further, Carlos Alcaraz himself, who upon leaving New York after being eliminated in the semifinals by the Russian Daniil Medvedev, said he was exhausted from playing so much, 14 games in a month, so he stayed at home and Monday he was seen in a bullfight with Pepín Liria and José Antonio Camacho, in the context of the Murcia Fair.
“I spoke with him and he is very mentally tired,” Ferrer alleges. “He has played many games and he also had some small physical problems. He [20 años] and Ferrero [técnico del murciano] “They decided that it was best not to come for the sake of their health,” continues the captain, who on the day of his presentation as a substitute for Sergi Bruguera, in December, dreamed of Nadal’s return – “Rafa has not ruled himself out, and I “I’m going to try it,” he said – and, of course, with the presence of Alcaraz at the helm.
Today, debut against Czechia
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However, neither one nor the other is there, so he must pull from the second line of players, most of them with extensive experience in the elite, but without significant episodes in the team competition with the exception of the one starring Roberto Bautista in the 2019 edition, when Spain won the Caja Mágica in Madrid at the inauguration of the current model. The list is headed by the Andalusian Alejandro Davidovich, who occupies 25th place in the ATP and who has not yet played any individual commitment with the team, and is followed by the Castellón native – eaten away by injuries in recent times –, Bernabé Zapata – debutant, 75th in the world–, the veteran Albert Ramos –95th, recaptured at the last minute to relieve Alcaraz– and Marcel Granollers –experienced doubles player–.
After the first interventions yesterday, Spain will open this Wednesday (from 3:00 p.m., Movistar) against the Czech Republic, before Friday’s match with Nole’s Serbia (3:00 p.m.) and Sunday’s match with South Korea (3:00 p.m. ), which complete Group C. The first two classified teams will get a ticket for the November final at the Martín Carpena in Málaga, from the 21st to the 26th of that month.
“Here I played my last match in Davis, in the Plaza de Toros,” recalls Ferrer, who foresees “very tough” qualifying rounds and does not want to give more thought to Alcaraz’s absence: “He is not going to be with us, I prefer to talk about my players, the good atmosphere here and how we are working. In Valencia the fans are very passionate. We are prepared”. The leader will be Davidovich. “It’s a dream I had since I was little,” says the man from Malaga; “and I know I will have that pressure [la de ser la referencia], but I think I’ve done pretty well all year and David has been giving me a lot of advice lately. I hope I have strength.”
With little time to catch their breath after passing through the US Open, the tennis players try to adapt to the change of scenery – hard court, but a fixed ceiling these next few days – and the atmosphere echoes again and again with debate, protests, yeses. but not. The same old story. Piqué and his company announced an investment of more than 2.5 billion euros to revitalize the oldest sports competition in history and acquire a more attractive profile, in the style of a soccer World Cup. However, something doesn’t quite work. The voluntary absences are repeated –Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Matteo Berrettini, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Taylor Fritz…– and the teams of players with a poster such as Alexander Zverev (Germany), Holger Rune (Denmark), Stefanos Tstitsipas (Greece) and Casper Ruud (Norway) did not get the pass.
The calendar, as always, wreaks havoc. “It happened before with the previous format and it is not easy. It’s tight. I don’t know what changes there could be… I hope this competition has more space so that the best can come. Maybe it could be played on the weekend, because during the week it is more difficult for people to attend, because they work…”, reasons Ferrer, while Feliciano proposes: “We must help young people soak up Davis, its history and the emotions that occur. Many are already aware, but now there are new ones who have not yet experienced it. We are in a time of transition in every sense. The calendar is what it is, so talking about this format not solving the problem is a serious mistake, in my opinion. We are doing a very good job, I like it and most people do too. I insist, I don’t think there is an ideal format.”
Without Nadal and Alcaraz, and among the noise that has surrounded the competition for too many years. This is how the It was Ferrer..
DAVIS CUP GROUP STAGE
Group A, in Bologna: Italy, Sweden, Chile and Canada.
Group B, in Manchester: United Kingdom, Australia, France and Switzerland.
Group C, in Valencia: Spain, Serbia, Korea and Czech Republic.
Group D, in Split: Croatia, Holland, Finland and the United States.
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