May 11, 2018 / 10:20 PM / 13 days ago

Tennis-Revamped Davis Cup could be held in Madrid or France next year: RFET

MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET) has held meetings with the Barcelona and national soccer team player Gerard Pique about holding the planned revamped Davis Cup in France or Madrid next year, the organization’s chief Miguel Diaz said on Friday.

In February, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced a massive shake-up of the competition, which will see the formation of an 18-nation World Cup of Tennis Finals played in one location, after agreeing a 25-year, $3 billion partnership with investment group Kosmos, founded and chaired by Pique.

“We are looking at a formula whereby the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will be held in Madrid or in France so it doesn’t have to go to Asia,” Diaz told reporters at the Madrid Open on Friday.

“We’ve had a couple of meetings with Gerard Pique and we will have one more but we still need data. We are looking at the final format and still nothing has been decided. We will make the decision at our board meeting at the end of May.”

The ITF did not respond to a request from Reuters to comment on the proposal.

Pique, who is set to be named in Spain’s squad for next month’s World Cup in Russia, was photographed watching countryman Rafael Nadal’s quarter-final defeat by Dominic Thiem on Friday at the Madrid Open alongside Real Madrid players Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio.

The new Davis Cup event represents a huge revamp for a competition which has been in existence since 1900 but has suffered in recent years with top players not competing.

ITF President David Haggerty has said the new format will be “a game-changer for tennis” but the proposed event, which would bring an end to traditional home and away ties, has been criticized by Belgian tennis chief Gijs Kooken, who said it risked “killing the soul” of the competition.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris/John O'Brien

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