MADRID: The International Tennis Federation and its commercial rights partner Kosmos Tennis have announced the 2020 Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals has been postponed until 2021 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Finals will now take place in Madrid in the week commencing 22 November 2021.
In addition, the ITF board announced that the 24 home-and-away World Group I and World Group II ties involving 48 national teams due to be played in September this year will be postponed until 2021, with ties to be played in either March or September. The 2020 regional Group III and IV events, in which 76 national teams are entered, are also postponed until 2021. The ITF will work with the hosts of these ties and events in order to ensure a safe environment in which they can be played next year.
As a result, India’s Davis Cup World Group I tie against Finland, which was scheduled to take place in September, has also been postponed to next year.
The Zeeshan Ali-coached Indian side was the favourite against Finland, whose best player is 101-ranked Emil Ruusuvuori with the rest ranked below 400.
On the distaff side, the Indian team was supposed to play the Fed Cup finals from April 13-18 in Budapest before it was deferred. The ITF has confirmed that it will now be played in April next year.
The decision to postpone the event comes following a three-month review of the considerable logistical and regulatory challenges that have arisen as a result of the pandemic and all potential hosting scenarios with the health and safety of all involved of paramount importance.
The Davis Cup Finals are the pinnacle of the largest men’s global team competition in tennis and were set to see the world’s best 18 national teams competing for the Davis Cup world championship title over one week in Madrid from 23 to 29 November 2020. The event was due to host more than 90 athletes with significant support teams, as well as thousands of fans, officials, staff, partners and other stakeholders travelling from countries across the world, each at a different stage in dealing with the pandemic. The challenges in hosting a mass gathering of this size on an international scale at an indoor venue are considerable due to the pandemic, both in the current and the anticipated climate.
The 18 teams which have already qualified for this year’s Finals will compete at the rescheduled Finals in 2021, with the draw for the Finals remaining as published.
Gerard Pique, Kosmos Tennis president said: “It’s a huge disappointment for all of us that the Davis Cup Finals will not be held in 2020. We don’t know how the situation will develop in each qualified nation, or if restrictions in Spain will remain sufficiently eased, as such it is impossible to predict the situation in November and guarantee the safety of those travelling to Madrid. This postponement has no long-term bearing on our collective ambitions for the Davis Cup. The ITF and Kosmos Tennis look forward to delivering an outstanding competition in 2021, when it is safe and feasible to do so.”
David Haggerty, ITF president, said: “This is a tough decision to have to make, but delivering an international team event on this scale while guaranteeing the health and safety of all involved ultimately poses too great a risk. It is a complex undertaking and we have made the decision now to provide certainty for players, National Associations and fans. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Kosmos Tennis in order to deliver a fantastic competition next year”.
Host partners, the City of Madrid and the Region of Madrid, have expressed their support for the decision to postpone until 2021.