The International Tennis Federation has hired FC Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique, to help turn Davis Cup into ‘World Cup’ for tennis.
Thus, the Davis Cup will likely never be the same again, with the Kosmos Investor Group (KIG) having agreed a deal to reform the tournament. Pique owns KIG and has strong background in business as his father is a businessman while his grandfather, Amador Bernabeu, is a former vice president of FC Barcelona.
Pique is the husband of Colombian singer, Shakira with whom he shares birthday but the singer is 10 years older. Pique’s company has a plan that will take place over 25 years and there is set to be an investment of 2.4 billion euros from KIG, for whom Pique is the founder and public face.
Monday morning saw the ITF board of directors unanimously approve Kosmos’ proposal, which included plans to hold the Davis Cup annually at a single venue. The tournament will be akin to a World Cup, with 18 countries taking part during a single week in November.
November 2019 will see the first iteration of the new format and there is hope within the ITF that the new format will boost not only the quality of tennis on show, but also the brand. Kosmos is financially backed by Hiroshi Mikitani, the president and CEO of Rakuten, incidentally the company who are Barcelona’s chief sponsor.
Many may raise eyebrows at the scale of the investment made, however it will go towards an increase in prize money to encourage players to take part, as well as funding multiple grassroots tennis projects across the globe.
A final agreement is set to be signed in August and until that point there can be a number of tweaks made to the initial plan. A two-thirds majority at the annual meeting of the ITF will be required for final approval.