Davis Cup organisers admit selling tickets for the revamped competition is proving a challenge with less than two weeks to go.
Eighteen national teams will head to Madrid for the first edition of the week-long, World Cup-style event, which begins on 18 November. The new format, which has largely replaced the traditional home-and-away fixtures, was controversially approved at last year’s International Tennis Federation AGM despite vociferous opposition from a number of current and former players, officials and fans.
Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique’s Kosmos company is the financial muscle behind the event having pledged to invest £2.3bn over 25 years, but efforts to recoup some of that money through strong ticket sales are proving problematic.
A spokeswoman for Kosmos said: “We are happy with ticket sales for the afternoon sessions and from Friday until Sunday (quarter-finals, semi-finals and final) but it’s much more difficult to sell tickets for morning sessions, as happens in all tournaments.”
The disappointing sales come despite countries naming strong teams, which was the main objective of the change of format. Six of the top 10 will be in Madrid, including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, with Germany’s Alexander Zverev the only eligible player to opt against making the trip.
There are also six players ranked between 10 and 20 and eight between 21 and 30, while Great Britain’s team includes former world No 1 Andy Murray.
Meanwhile, Djokovic and Roger Federer have been drawn in the same group for the ATP Finals in London. The pair will do battle in the Bjorn Borg group at the O2 Arena and are joined by French Open finalist Dominic Thiem and Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini.
Top seed Nadal avoided Federer but finds himself in a tough-looking quartet alongside US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and defending champion Zverev at the season-ending tournament, which begins on Sunday.
Doubts remain about Nadal’s fitness but he is hopeful of being able to compete. The Spaniard suffered an abdominal injury at the Paris Masters last week and had to pull out prior to his scheduled semi-final against Denis Shapovalov, prompting concerns he may again miss the ATP Finals.
Writing on Twitter, Nadal said: “Despite having a small strain, I will travel to London. Thursday or Friday I will start serving. The idea is to be able to play the atpfinals in London.”
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