Messi backs Pique in new Davis Cup venture

David Haggerty and Gerard Pique

Messi backs Pique in new Davis Cup venture

Branded the 'World Cup of Tennis', the newly-formatted event has caused plenty of controversy after wholesale changes were implemented by Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique's investment group Kosmos to alter the former home-and-away knockout format.

The quarterfinal of this competition will feature the first-place teams from all six groups and the two best second-placed teams.

A drastic revamp of the 119-year-old team competition will culminate in a week-long event featuring 18 nations at Madrid's La Caja Magica from November 18-24.

According to UK Daily Mail report, Pique hinted that Messi alongside other billionaires were also involved with his special project for tennis which kicked-off on Thursday night, with the official draw for November's inaugural event in Madrid.

At last year's US Open, Federer said it was a "bit odd to see a footballer arrive and meddle in the tennis business" and warned "the Davis Cup should not become the Pique Cup".

Pique is the founder of Kosmos, a company that have had plans approved to go ahead with a £2.15billion revamp of the Davis Cup.

Speaking before yesterday's draw ceremony, Pique confirmed Argentina forward and fellow tennis fan Messi, who already has a stake in Kosmos, was involved.

That is despite Serbia having qualified as one of the 18 nations for the 2019 Davis Cup finals.

Sixteen nations previously competed in the World Group in a straight knockout, with one of the nations hosting the tie. What I can say is that while I'm the President of Kosmos we are full of people who know tennis, people like Albert Costa, who has won a Grand Slam.

Pique, 32, also said he was too busy trying to help Barcelona win La Liga and the Champions League to be meddling too much in the ITF's flagship tournament.

"We understand that we are new in this tennis world, and we want to respect everyone and how the calendar is structured right now".

And this from a country with a proud tennis history over many years and the facilities from which there is no good reason why it should not have been maintained. Each session will include two singles matches and a doubles match between two nations.

Federer's Switzerland didn't qualify, Britain's Murray has virtually retired while world number one Djokovic has said he intends to focus on the ATP World Team Cup to be staged in Australia in January.

Group D sees Belgium and Colombia pooled with 28-time champions Australia while Britain, who have been champions on 10 occasions, Kazakhstan and Netherlands make up Group E.

Twelve teams made it to the finals through the qualifying round earlier this month.

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