The newly-transformed competition, which will take place on a hard court at La Caja Magica in Madrid, was officially presented in the Spanish capital at the IFEMA Trade Fair Center on Wednesday by Ángel Garrido, President of the Community of Madrid; Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid; Gerard Piqué, Founder and President of Kosmos; and ITF Chief Operating Officer Kelly Fairweather.
In front of an auditorium that brought together a number of media and special guests, including Alejandro Blanco, President of the Spanish Olympic Committee; Mariano Soriano Lacambra, Sports General Director of the Sports Council and Miguel Díaz, President of the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation, the city officially began the countdown to the November 2019 event, when 18 nations will battle it out for the Davis Cup title.
“It is great news that an event like this is hosted in Madrid,” said world No. 1 Rafael Nadal. “Playing Davis Cup is always something very special, and even more with the atmosphere we will all see in November, with fans from all the participating countries. To me, it will always be a pleasure to represent my country in this competition. I would like to thank Madrid, once more, for its commitment to tennis.”
During Wednesday’s launch, several speakers clarified the details of the competition’s new format as well as the landmark agreement signed in Orlando, USA on 16 August between the ITF and Kosmos Tennis which saw both parties establish themselves as partners to develop the Davis Cup for the next 25 years.
The Spanish capital is set to stage the first two editions of the new Davis Cup by BNP Paribas finals in 2019 and 2020, with prize money set to reach similar levels of a Grand Slam tournament.
Ángel Garrido, President of the Community of Madrid: “The Davis Cup finals have the potential to strengthen Madrid as a top-level sports region. There are few regions and cities who feel so passionate about sport and the values associated with it as Madrid. This new Davis Cup will leave an important legacy in the Community of Madrid as home to major events. Its impact will not only be measured in terms of visitors from the rest of Spain and the world during the competition week, but also in terms of the millions of people who will talk about Madrid during 2019 and 2020."
Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid said: “The Madrid City Council is extremely pleased and happy that the Davis Cup Steering Committee decided that Madrid would stage the first two editions of this centennial event’s renewed format, in which the best tennis nations in the world will compete. Madrid’s support for this event shows the city council’s commitment to sports and tennis in particular, underpinned by an iconic arena as ‘Caja Mágica’ and a firm determination to make this city an essential part of the world tennis calendar. This is what Madrid has demonstrated throughout these years by hosting different events, and I am confident of the high-value legacy that this competition will leave us.”
Kelly Fairweather, Chief Operating Officer of the International Tennis Federation: "For the first time in its history, the Davis Cup finals will take place as a week-long festival consisting of teams from 18 nations. We are delighted that these finals will take place in the emblematic city of Madrid".
Gerard Piqué, Founder and President of Kosmos said: “On behalf of Kosmos Tennis, I would like to thank the Comunidad de Madrid and the Ayuntamiento de Madrid for their impressive joint effort to bring us together here, as we officially present what will be, without doubt, one of the greatest sports events worldwide in the next few years. The path we initiated with the International Tennis Federation last August joins a city and a region that throughout their history have shown their capacity to host this kind of event. We still have months ahead of us full of work, commitment and excitement. From Kosmos Tennis we will work to make it a success at all levels.”
The revamped Davis Cup by BNP Paribas begins in February with the Qualifiers, where 24 nations will compete in a home-and-away format across 12 different countries. The 12 winning nations will progress to the finals in Madrid, joining the four countries that reached the semifinals this year (France, Croatia, United States and Spain), and two wildcards: Argentina and Great Britain.
The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas finals will take place in a group-stage format over the first four days, with the countries divided into six groups of three teams. Each tie will consist of three matches – two singles and one doubles – of best-of-three sets.
The six group winners and the two second-placed teams with the best records will qualify for the knock-out quarter-finals. The semifinals and finals will be held on Saturday and Sunday. The teams placed 5th to 16th will compete in the following year’s Qualifiers, while the teams placed 17th and 18th will be relegated to their respective Zone Groups.