Hewitt hammers Pique over 'ridiculous' Davis Cup changes


Australia's Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt has slammed Barcelona star Gerard Pique and his consortium Kosmos over changes they are making to the traditional tennis tournament.

Spanish defender Pique is big in tennis as well as football.

He is president of the Kosmos group, which has been hired by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to run the Davis Cup for the next 25 years and transform it into a World Cup of Tennis.

Last week the ITF board unanimously approved Kosmos' proposals, which include the company investing $3 billion into the tournament over that time.

The changes will make it a bit more like a football tournament format, with 18 countries taking part in one location during a single week in November.

There will no longer be a host choosing the playing surface, no more home-and-away ties, and matches will be best of three sets instead of five.

At a press conference just days out from Australia's qualifying tie for the cup against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hewitt savaged Pique and the changes being made.

“He knows nothing about tennis. It’d be like me asking to change things for the Champions League," he said.

“The two biggest points of difference were, one, the home and away aspect of it, and secondly was the best of five sets.

“If you look at the pinnacle of our sport, which are the four majors, they’re best of five sets. By us going back really hurts this event and how important it was.

“Now we are getting run by a Spanish football player and he knows nothing about tennis and that is ridiculous.

"For me the most disappointing thing is guys like these — Bolty and Alex — (Alex Bolt and Alex de Minaur) will never get to play a Davis Cup final in Australia and that was one of the biggest joys I had in my career.

The two-time Grand Slam winner went on the say that the sport's elite players are less likely to participate now: "I don’t agree at all with it. Having the finals in one place is ridiculous. I don’t think many of the top players will play.

”He (Pique) is trying to (put tennis into a football format). It’s not going to work in tennis.

"His group has bought into the ITF and they are basically running the ITF — a soccer league is the main sponsor of the Davis Cup, and that to me is mind-boggling.”

Tennis great Roger Federer was last year also against the proposed changes to the Davis Cup, suggesting he would not take part and that it 'should not become the Pique Cup'.

Australia take on Bosnia and Herzegovina in Adelaide this Friday.

Source SBS The World Game