Novak Djokovic recently weighed in on the news that the Davis Cup is set to move to Abu Dhabi for the next five years. The World No. 1 analyzed whether the right move for the team competition is to follow the money, the tradition, or find a "balance between the two."
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is expected to confirm Abu Dhabi as the new home of the Davis Cup Finals next week, according to The Telegraph. The deal will reportedly run for five years starting from 2022.
Djokovic beat Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-2 on Friday to help Serbia down Austria 3-0 in Innsbruck in their opening tie of the 2021 Davis Cup Finals. Serbia face Germany in their second and final match in Group F today - and victory will secure a quarter-final spot for the 2010 winners.
Speaking at a press conference after his match on Friday, Djokovic gave his reaction to the possibility of the event being held in the Middle East and highlighted the financial advantages of doing so.
“There is a lot of interest to bring Davis Cup or any other big tennis competition or sports competition to the Middle East, where economically they're very strong and they can finance the big demands that you have for an organisation of such an important event," Djokovic said.
The Serb then assessed the advantages and disadvantages of such a move, suggesting that improving the event and preserving its tradition are both important.
“Now, the question is whether you follow the money, so to say, or you follow the tradition, or you find a balance between the two?" Djokovic asked. "That's always the big question on anybody's mind. Some people think we should improve, that we should look forward, that we should progress. Some people think we should stick to what the Davis Cup as a competition or as a format was before."
The 34-year-old outlined his own position, asserting that finding a balance between both sides would be the ideal outcome.
“I'm somewhere in between," Djokovic continued. "I think you need to respect the tradition and the history, and you need to stick to the things that are recognizable that make this competition so important for the sport. At the same time, you need to move forward and find new ways to improve the competition.”
"You need a Davis Cup competition for development of your own national tennis" - Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic also gave his thoughts on the current Finals format of the Davis Cup, which was introduced in 2019. The World No. 1 revealed he is a fan of multiple countries holding the group stage, but said he would like to see more host nations than the current total of three.
“I like the fact that now there are three different countries that are able to host at least group stages," Djokovic said. "I would say why not more? Why not have six different countries host one group of three teams?”
The Serb described the importance of hosting Davis Cup ties to the growth of tennis in countries, and how this has been lost with the reforms.
“We lost that with the change of format, the possibility for many countries in the World Group to host the tie," Djokovic added. "I think that is something that people have not reacted well to, and I understand. You need a Davis Cup competition for development of your own national tennis."
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