The International Tennis Federation has announced that it is ending its Davis Cup partnership with Gerard Pique’s investment group Kosmos just five years into a 25-year, $3 billion (€2.7bn) agreement.
In 2018, the ITF had unveiled the deal with former Barcelona soccer player Pique’s investment group, which had promised to invest $120 million (€110.6m) per year, amid much fanfare.
The ITF had said at the time that the package to revamp the Davis Cup competition would safeguard the future of the sport as it would “deliver long-term benefits for players, nations, fans, sponsors and broadcasters”.
However, less than five years later the deal – which also had the backing of Wimbledon, French and US Open officials – has ended.
“The ITF can confirm that its partnership with Kosmos Tennis for Davis Cup is ending in its fifth year,” the ITF said in a statement.
“The ITF negotiated a strong deal for tennis in 2018. The partnership increased participation, prize money and interest in Davis Cup and produced funding to support the global development of our sport.”
Kosmos could not be reached for comment when contacted by Reuters.
The agreement with Kosmos had led to the revamp of the men’s team competition, which was founded in 1900.
The usual home-and-away ties played over a few weekends during the course of the year were scrapped.
That format was replaced in 2019 with just one home-and-away round of ties that was followed by 18-teams competing in one city for a week-long climax to the season.
Despite the deal with Kosmos being terminated, the governing body of tennis added: “The ITF has ensured financial contingencies are in place and as the custodian of the competition we will operate the 2023 Qualifiers and Finals as scheduled, with the Final 8 taking place in Malaga, Spain, this November.
“As well as being focused on delivering another spectacular edition of the men’s World Cup of Tennis, we are focused on the future growth of the largest annual international team competition in sport.”
After the 2020 edition was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 finale was held across 11 days in three cities – Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck.
The format was tweaked again last year, when teams competed in a group stage in September, with the top eight advancing to the finals. (RTE)