A logistical nightmare. Why the new Davis Cup format needs a rethink for 2020 and beyond!

At the beginning of the week Davis Cup ‘bashing’ seemed to be a trend on social media and in press. I thought it was sad and childish despite obvious logistical problems the event faced constant comments on issues.

For the first few days I didn’t see any posts about the matches but about the problems and that was a shame.

This piece isn’t about ‘bashing’ the event but learning from the first of the revamp and changes that need to be considered for the next event. A lot of pre-tournament unrest about the format was that people in the game weren’t consulted and ideas weren’t listened to but need to be now.

Ticket sales

Ticket sales were low but it is a tough sell.

Is Davis Cup always a sell out? Yes. So why wasn’t this?

Squeezing the event into a week is a problem. A countries fate could be sealed in around 24-36 hours. Travelling that distance to one location is an extra problem for fans. Australia to Madrid? Very long journey for complete sell outs.

The issue also stands later on in the competition. There was around 16 hours between Great Britain winning their quarter final and playing the semi-final. Little time for fans to purchase flights, accomodation and tickets to travel in.

We need fans, so what happened? Andy and Jamie Murray reached out on social media and the LTA paid for 900 fans tickets (over £35,000) to attend the semi-final. In other words, lining the pockets of the Kosmos Group?

An extra week?

This event needs an extra week in this format.

It’s too chaotic and a logistical nightmare. Trying to fit six matches on one court in the opening four days proved problematic.

One tie involving the USA didn’t finish until 4:00am local time in Madrid, that just isn’t right.

In the future they do want to go to 24 teams in the finals and be a two week event. The problem is 47 of the 52 weeks in a calendar year are already full.

To intice more fans to travel and invest in this new format it needs to be longer and more teams and more time will improve on numbers.

It isn’t a question about wanting to go but logistical for fans it doesn’t make sense to invest soo much in potentially a couple of days and then extend your stay if you country progresses at an extra cost.

is it bed time yet?

4:00am finishes, some ties didn’t even begin until gone 23:00pm local time in Madrid caused a nightmare.

Nightmare for fans and players with such a quick turn around in matches.

This comes back to scheduling though, it should have been planned much better.

walkover rule…

This needs to be scrapped.

There is a path to the quarter finals where two top second place teams go through on sets and games won.

If a country wins a tie in the first two matches the winner can opt out of playing the doubles. This did happen.

Canada were up 2-0 and decided against playing the doubles giving the USA a 6-0 6-0 walkover victory which then all but ended Italy’s hopes of becoming one of the best second place teams to qualify.

This rule needs to go!

Going forward?

I do hope they look at scheduling issues. There is only the one week in the calendar but a better system of getting matches on needs to be looked into.

Tickets will only improve with more time on the calendar for the event and maybe a better time than November.

The tournament I believe was a success I thought we saw the true meaning of Davis Cup but also the issues that have arisen due to the new format. These need to be ironed out and not ignored because of the funding coming in from the Kosmos Group to the ITF.

Screenshot 2019-11-24 at 23.14.42

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