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Djokovic, GB’s captain face off over multi-city staging of Davis Cup Finals

World No 1, Novak Djokovic said, yesterday, that he supports the multi-city staging of the Davis Cup finals, but Britain’s captain, Leon Smith, has called for dialogue over the format going forward.

After a two-year hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Davis Cup returned, yesterday, with group stages holding in Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck.

Following a lucrative but hugely controversial takeover of the competition by Gerard Pique’s Kosmos Group in 2018, the Davis Cup switched from home and away ties to a World Cup-style finals event.

The inaugural tournament in Madrid in 2019 attracted a very low crowd, a packed schedule, and late-night finishes (because of TV times), which needed a rethink. This has resulted in the group stages being played across three cities over a longer time frame before the climax of the event in Madrid next weekend.

“The Davis Cup should be experienced by more people. So, I’m in favour of this year’s format and that there are more countries that can host group ties. I didn’t think the format worked very well two years ago,” Djokovic said.

However, Britain’s captain, whose side will play their Group C ties in Innsbruck, said he wanted more dialogue with the ITF (International Tennis Federation) and Kosmos Tennis, about the format going forward.

Smith and his team, which is led by British No 1, Cameron Norrie, arrived in Innsbruck last weekend ahead of matches against France tomorrow and the Czech Republic on Sunday. He went on to add that playing in front of an empty stadium could have a real impact in a competition that is based on partisan support but despite this drawback, they were determined to do their best.

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