Madrid has once again become the world capital of tennis with the celebration of the new format of the Davis Cup, from which the next world tennis champions will be crowned.

 

With the new changes to the Davis Cup world tournament, the best tennis players in the world will captain their respective teams to compete for the cup trophy and, thus, match the great world champions in other sports such as football, basketball or motorcycling that have been competing for decades in world tournaments. The final phase of the championship will be held at the Caja Mágica from 18 – 24 November and Madrid will host the tournament again in 2020.

 

Another boost for international tennis players

 

 

The organization of the tournament has released an audiovisual campaign called “All to be champions” in which great international athletes such as Pau Gasol, Marc Márquez, Antoine Griezmann or Yelena Ysinbayeva remember how it felt to become world champions in their respective disciplines and feel the warmth of the public and pride for their respective countries. Feeling that an entire country is following the team, which encourages the players and helps them in their quest for victory, is the feeling players like, Rafa Nadal, Kei Nishikori or the Bryan brothers like to have during the competition.

These will be the sensations that will be experienced at last by tennis players from 18 countries who will face each other at the Davis Cup, in Madrid, and especially by those who manage to raise the Davis cup trophy along with the colours of their country thanks to the new format of the competition that brings together the best teams for the first time, in the same week and in the same city.

 

Tennis of a par with other sports

 

The format has been arranged so that, of the 24 teams that played the first round matches at the beginning of the year, 12 will go on to the final round in Madrid, as well as the four semi-finalists from the previous year and two invited teams. These will form six groups of three (France, Serbia and Japan; Spain, Russia and Croatia; Argentina, Germany and Chile; Belgium, Australia and Colombia; Great Britain, Kazakhstan and the Netherlands; United States, Italy and Canada) in a round robin format (where all teams will play against each other), and these matches will take place between the 18th and 21st November. There will be eight finalists (the six group winners and the two best runners-up) in the quarter-finals, organized for the 22nd November, who will compete until they reach the final on Sunday 24th November and will be in the running to win the trophy. Previously, the three teams were composed of 16 countries and, until now, had to overcome three series played in different countries to reach the final. In addition, the value of the doubles match will be enhanced, which, together with the two singles matches, will make up each series of matches. The games will not be played to five sets but to three, considerably reducing the wear of the tennis players and leaving the four Grand Slam tournaments as the only duels that will still be played as the best out of five.

 

Spain, centre of world tennis

 

The Spanish team has already confirmed 5 tennis players who will compete in the tournament: Rafa Nadal (who will return to be world number one since November 4), Roberto Bautista (10th), Pablo Carreño, Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers.

Spain is the sixth country with the most Davis Cup titles and the third since the creation of the competition in 1981 till the present day competition, with five championships (2000, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011) and four runners-up (1965, 1967, 2003 and 2012).

Spain is an essential part of the annual tennis circuit of both the ATP and the WTA with internationally known events such as the Madrid Open, the Conde de Godó tournament or the championships of Valencia and Mallorca.

 

Rafael Nada, one of the best tennis players in history

Rafael Nada, one of the best tennis players in history. EFE/Fernando Villar

 

From the 1990s onwards, Spain experienced sustained growth and had a large number of players who were at the top of the world ranking. Spanish tennis players are recognized all over the world. Rafael Nadal occupies second place in the ATP ranking, behind Novak Djokovic, but as of 4 November has once again resumed first place. The Mallorcan has won 29 Grand Slams, 35 Masters 1000 Tournaments and won the gold medal in the Olympic Games of Beijing 2008 and Rio de Janeiro 2016, so he is considered one of the best tennis players in history and the best of all time on clay courts, merits that also led him to receive the Prince of Asturias Award in 2008.

Many other Spaniards are also part of the rankings of the Association of Professional Tennis Players: Pablo Carreño, Roberto Bautista, Feliciano López, Fernando Verdasco, Albert Ramos, Feliciano López, Pablo Andújar, Roberto Carballés, Alejandro Davidovich and Jaume Munar; the tennis player Garbiñe Muguruza also stands out, as she has been ranked number 36 in the world.

Since the founding of the ATP circuit, some 156 tennis players from around the world have at some point in their career, held a position in the top ten. Of these, 19 have been Spanish, which places our country as the second country in number of players in the historic top 10 behind the United States, with 31. Among them, Carlos Moya, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Manuel Orantes, Alex Corretja, Sergi Bruguera and David Ferrer.

In women’s tennis, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario has become a world reference in international tennis. The holder of four Olympic medals, she became number 1 in 1995, won four Grand Slams and received the Prince of Asturias Sports Award for being “an example of perseverance and sacrifice and a role model for professionals around the world.

 

The Spanish sports model

 

The organisation of international sporting events is not a new area for Spain. The Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 were a turning point for the country receiving international recognition for its proven organizational capacity. Before that, in 1982, Spain had hosted the World Cup, which has been followed by various European finals, and the final of the Champions League was also held in Madrid. In addition, Spain recently proved itself capable once again of organizing large sporting events, hosting the final of the Copa Libertadores between Boca Junior and River Plate.

Along with the Davis Cup Finals and the Mutua Madrid Open, there are many important international sporting events that Spain organizes, such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Montmeló (Barcelona), the Tour of Spain and various stages of the World Motorcycling Championship, among others.

In addition to Rafa Nadal, Spain stands out for being the nation of other great athletes such as Mireia Belmonte, Fernando Alonso, Andrés Iniesta, Carolina Marín, Pau Gasol and Marc Márquez, who best transmit the values of modernity, effort and Spanish competitiveness.

Los JJOO de Barcelona'92, un ejemplo de organización de eventos deportivos al más alto nivel. Efe/Lluís Gené

The Olympic Games of Barcelona’92, an example of organizing sporting events at the highest level. Efe/Lluís Gené

 

Spain has also had 2,683 Olympic athletes (summer and winter), according to the website of the Spanish Olympic Committee. The athletes and Olympic teams have won 46 gold medals, 65 silver medals and 44 bronze medals, and a total of 155 medals. It ranks 25th out of 137 countries in the summer Olympic Games.

The Spanish sports model was consolidated after the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, which meant a transformation and improvement of sports structures, and an enhancement of sport, both inside and outside our borders. Spanish sports management involves the coordination of public administrations, federations, clubs and private bodies, in addition to having first class sports facilities, equipment and material.

The new commitment to international sport that the Davis Cup Finals represents, opens a new era in the world tennis circuit, with Madrid as the host for two consecutive years. The new format of the competition will once again attract the world’s greatest players who will compete for their country, with the much sought after cup as the ultimate reward.