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Alexander Zverev won't play revamped Davis Cup Finals as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic refuse to commit

Andrew Hendrie in News 11 Oct 2018
  • Zverev says he won't play the new Davis Cup competition in 2019
  • Federer and Djokovic reportedly yet to commit
Alexander Zverev (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The inaugural Davis Cup finals are already under immense pressure to attract the world’s best players after it emerged that Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are yet to commit to the competition, while World No. 5 Alexander Zverev has flat-out confirmed he won’t be playing the event as it debuts in Madrid in 2019.

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Over 100 years of decorated Davis Cup tradition was scrapped amid much controversy earlier this year as Spanish footballer Gerard Pique - and his media investment company called Kosmos - teamed up with American billionaire businessman Larry Ellison and struck a deal with the International Tennis Federation for a 25-year, $3 billion partnership that will see the finals played at a neutral venue over one week of competition at the end of the season - with Madrid’s Caja Magica to host the competition in 2019.

The decision to completely overhaul Davis Cup was made in extremely questionable circumstances, with the majority of players against the change and declaring they weren’t even consulted in the matter.

Gerard Pique and David Haggerty after the Davis Cup revamp was announced (Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Already under pressure to create an atmosphere, genuine interest and bring in fans at a neutral venue, the new Davis Cup finals was essentially established so that top players would be urged to return to the competition.

However, the event - which many pundits are already saying is nothing more than a glorified cash grab and exhibition - is already in danger of missing out on the participation of Federer and Djokovic, while Zverev has declared he won’t be competing in the revamped Davis Cup Finals, currently scheduled between November 18-24, 2019.

Staged at the very end of a long and gruelling season and one week after the Nitto ATP Finals in London (reserved for the year’s best eight players), it was always going to be near-impossible to convince top players to compete - and now Zverev is the confirmed first casualty.

“I will not play Davis Cup in November,” Zverev was quoted as saying by The Times. “In November [after the ATP Finals], I do not want to play tennis any more. All the top guys will say the same thing.
“We have one and a half months off in our season, and that’s at the end of November and December. Making a tournament at the end of November, it’s crazy. By the end of the year, we are all tired. For us as top players, we had discussions, we had talks with the ATP on how to make the season shorter and not longer. No, it’s not happening, and I guarantee you I won’t be the only one.”



The Times also reported that a four-person panel - including Barcelona footballer Pique - wanted to initially award wildcards to Switzerland (Federer) and Serbia (Djokovic) before handing them to Great Britain and Argentina because the pair have yet to commit to the 18-team event.

The fact that Federer and Djokovic are already being sounded out with wildcards for their participation and still haven’t agreed to compete is a worrying sign for the competition, with their potential absence set to add to an already-wavering interest.


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Alexander Zverev won't play revamped Davis Cup Finals as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic refuse to commit

The inaugural Davis Cup finals are already under immense pressure to attract the world’s best players after it emerged that Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are yet to commit to the competition, while World No. 5 Alexander Zverev has flat-out confirmed he won’t be playing the event as it debuts in Madrid in 2019.

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