Sport

Great Britain handed controversial wildcard to Davis Cup finals week

Great Britain handed controversial wildcard to Davis Cup finals week

Argentina won their first Davis Cup title in 2016, beating Croatia in Zagreb, on their fifth appearance in the Davis Cup final; while Great Britain won their tenth title in 2015 overcoming Belgium in the final in Ghent.

The makeover of the premier team event in men's tennis has been made by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), in partnership with the investment group Kosmos, founded by Barcelona and Spain footballer Gerard Pique.

Great Britain and Argentina have been given wild cards into next year's revamped Davis Cup and will not have to play a qualifier in February.

"We are delighted to be bringing the 2019 Davis Cup... finals to Madrid", ITF president David Haggerty said in a statement.

Meanwhile Madrid has been selected to host the first two finals in 2019, organisers announced on Thursday.

The four semi-finalists are: champions France, finalists Croatia, Spain and United States.




But they will now bypass that stage altogether with the wildcard.

With the finals week to be played in either Lille or Madrid next year, the trip would not be a long one for British tennis lovers, although numerous staunchest fans have already expressed reservations about the new format. The draw has not been completed as we wait for the October ties between South Africa and Portugal and Slovakia versus Belarus but we already know 10 ties that will take place just five days after the Australian Open final.

Kosmos, an investment group led by Pique with Japanese and Chinese support, will spend Dollars 3 billion over 25 years on the revamped 118-year-old Davis Cup.

Both nations won their World Group play-offs earlier this month to earn one of the 12 seedings in the Qualifier Draw of the Finals next February, but will now progress straight to the 18-team week-long Finals next November.

"I have no doubt that February's qualifiers will stimulate the passion in fans and players that has always been a feature of Davis Cup, and that this will carry through to the finals where we will witness a magnificent world-class sporting spectacle".


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