Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic among stars backing tennis World Cup proposals

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic among stars backing tennis World Cup proposals

Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have all offered support to plans for a tennis World Cup backed by Barcelona star Gerard Pique.

The Daily Mail reported Pique, who is a big tennis fan, met with ATP officials in Madrid this week to discuss the idea, and he already has some powerful allies.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic among stars backing tennis World Cup proposals

World number one Murray told reporters: "I've tried to speak to him a couple of times. We've exchanged messages but we haven't actually spoken in person or on the phone about it.

"Doing new things in tennis is never easy, there's always a lot of obstacles. But I think that it's a really exciting idea. If it comes off I think it would be a very, very good thing. Tennis needs an event like that."

The proposed tournament will be of concern to the International Tennis Federation as, if it comes off, it could prove a real threat to the struggling Davis Cup.

The leading players have increasingly shown a lack of commitment to the historic competition and have been frustrated by a perceived reluctance on the ITF's part to make changes to the format.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic among stars backing tennis World Cup proposals

Pique's idea is to have an event played at one venue over 10 days, which would impact less on the busy schedules of the leading players than the Davis Cup, which is held over four weekends throughout the year.

Djokovic has long voiced support for such a structure in Davis Cup, and he said: "I spoke to Gerard here. He's a great guy and I have tremendous respect for what he has achieved in his football career.

"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. Hopefully it's going to come to life."

Nadal is hoping the proposals will encourage the ITF to push through changes to the Davis Cup.

A change in format for singles matches from best-of-five sets to best-of-three is expected to be approved at the ITF's AGM on August 4 but that is the only imminent alteration.

ITF president David Haggerty is keen to move the final to a neutral venue but that is not popular among the players.

Nadal said: "I have had really great moments in the Davis Cup. They were unique moments. I'll never speak badly about the Davis Cup.

"The ITF, It's true that during a lot of years we have had some managers that were ruling the ITF that didn't do anything at all. They haven't adapted to the new days that we have today. They haven't looked for solutions.

"Now there is a new president, a new council. I'm sure they will try to do things. I think that's what we need right now."

This year will see a new team competition in the shape of the Laver Cup, backed by Roger Federer and Tennis Australia.

Staged in Prague from September 22-24, the Ryder Cup-style event will pit a European team featuring Federer and Nadal against a rest of the world side.

More in this Section

Talking points ahead of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier in SwitzerlandTalking points ahead of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Switzerland

Mick McCarthy claims the pressure is all on SwitzerlandMick McCarthy claims the pressure is all on Switzerland

All Blacks were all smiles, selfies, jokes and big laughs. Until nowAll Blacks were all smiles, selfies, jokes and big laughs. Until now

Roberto Moreno urges Spain to win final three Euro 2020 qualifiersRoberto Moreno urges Spain to win final three Euro 2020 qualifiers


Lifestyle

Fiann Ó Nualláin follows in the footsteps of the Fianna as he explores a province’s hills and vales.Munster marvels: Plants that are unique to a province

Cupid must be something of a motoring enthusiast, as he had most definitely steered his way in the neighbourhood when Amie Gould and Shane O’Neill met at the Rally of the Lakes 12 years ago.Wedding of the Week: Cupid steers couple to right track

When it comes to podcasting, all it takes is one idea — and who knows where it can take you.Podcast Corner: Crimes and creatures rule at Cork’s first podcast fest

Claymation meets science fiction in this enchanting film, writes Esther McCarthy.Latest Shaun adventure is out of this world

More From The Irish Examiner