The Davis Cup is Dead
The Davis Cup is Dead, or so proclaimed Frenchman Nicholas Mahut via twitter. France and Croatia take the court to contest the Davis Cup final this week amidst controversy of significant changes being made to the format. Instead of a two-team competition, organizers are moving towards an 18-team competition to be contested in November in Madrid starting next year. Also, there will only be two singles matches and one doubles match, all played in a best two out of three. There will be 18 Million dollars in prize money though.
It now looks like tennis in general is starting to invest on a bunch of team formats. We now have the Laver Cup and the introduction of the ATP Cup, starting in January 2020. The latter is very similar to the Davis Cup and will be contested amongst nations in Australia shortly before the Australian Open. The ATP Cup is not only essentially another version of the Davis Cup, with almost equal prize money at 15 million, but it also provides players with ranking points. That is huge for players as they have the opportunity to build some points right at the start of the year.
Then, we have the Laver Cup which will continue to be contested after the US Open each year and will consist of Europe vs. the World. We have all seen how successful the Laver Cup has been these last two years, and maybe that’s one of the reasons for the introduction of the ATP Cup and the new Davis Cup. Maybe these cups are not similar versions of each other, but more so complementary team competitions. It is very possible that tennis is changing and both fans and players are hungering for team formats. After all, we’ve seen how excited people get in both Davis Cup and the Laver Cup. I for one thoroughly enjoyed the format of the Laver Cup, and I’m also a fan of month long international soccer competitions like the World Cup and the Euro Cup. It’s definitely more fun to see these countries duke it out in shorter formats than having to see them play through the year to reach a final.
I predict these formats will become more and more popular, and also help doubles become a little higher profile that it’s been in the past. I’ve been partial to singles for most of my life, but seeing doubles through the lens of Davis Cup and now the Laver Cup makes me hunger for more doubles.