Gerard Pique Scores in Davis Cup Vote
(WFI) Gerard Piqué unleashed as much adrenaline as when he won the 2010 World Cup with Spain in South Africa. This time, his victory was in tennis.
Around him, a group of friends and collaborators celebrated with cheers and hugs.
Piqué had made a lightning trip from Barcelona to Orlando, Florida, the site of the most anticipated International Tennis Federation meeting in recent years.
He landed about 6:30 in the morning on Thursday in the city of Central Florida on a flight that took off shortly after his Barcelona team beat Boca Juniors 3-0 at the Camp Nou stadium in a final preseason game ahead of the start of the Spanish season.
He would spend more time in the air than on U.S. soil but he knew he had to stand in front of a microphone to personally defend the proposal for a new Davis Cup. Since this initiative was made public, months ago, there had been many detractors, including several players.
Piqué spoke in front of delegates from some 200 countries that make up the ITF, although several do not have the right to vote.
When the result of the vote was heard in the main hall of the luxurious Ritz Carlton hotel, the central defender of the national team of Spain and Barcelona FC seemed to want to shout … Gooool! …
It was really Piqué’s first great goal in the business world where he is not a rookie. He has been involved in multiple businesses for several years. He has even devised a video game.
The joint proposal of ITF and the brand new sports management company Kosmos led by the Catalan soccer player received 71.4 percent of the votes.
A two-thirds majority of the ITF Annual Assembly was necessary to make this project a reality that, starting in November 2019, will try to catch the eyes of fans from all over the world with a world final.
The meeting was behind closed doors. The voting was secret.
And when Piqué left the plenary hall on the way out of the hotel, a score of his Kosmos collaborators were waiting for him.
“President! … President!” they shouted to the player, alluding to his leadership position of this new management company that he founded just a year ago with important allies.
The first big support was given by his friend, the Japanese e-commerce billionaire, Hiroshi Mikitani.
The most recent financial backing came from U.S. IT mogul Larry Ellison, who has invested heavily in tennis as the owner of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.
The Piqué tennis project is worth $3 million for 25 years.
“Today was a historic day,” Edmund Chu, general director of SECA, said to INSIDER. The Chinese agency, which specializes in different areas of sport and has 12 Olympic Games of experience, is working with Kosmos.
“It’s a first step, I think Kosmos will be released as of today. We’re looking forward to very busy months and hopefully we can see the results soon,” Piqué tells INSIDER.
A tennis lover and great friend of Rafael Nadal, the idea was spinning in Piqué’s mind for three years.
The first thing he did was talk to the former ITF executive. But an understanding was not reached.
He held conversations with the Association of Professional Tennis Players to explore how to originate a change. In the end, the talks did not come to fruition.
Last December he met with the new ITF president, David Haggerty, presenting the project to him. Haggerty was delighted and added more ideas.
“Today is one of the most important days of my life,” the ITF Boss confessed to INSIDER.
But Haggerty knows that there are still pending challenges and is determined to talk again with the ATP, which is also promoting a World Cup for 2020.
“What happened is not just a change of format of the Davis Cup, it has been a vote of respect for the nations and the traditional team competition, which is ours. And that must be understood by the ATP,” declares the Paraguayan Camilo Pérez, president of the South American Confederation who voted unanimously for the reforms.
Madrid seems to have the upper hand on Lille, France to host the “first World Cup” of the Davis Cup next year, according to some experts consulted by INSIDER at the Florida headquarters. The French city would host in 2020.
On the possibilities of these two candidates Piqué only responds that it will be necessary to wait a few weeks to know which one will be selected.
The soccer player apologizes and moves away to a quieter place. He dials a number on his cell phone. “We won,” he says and shows a wide smile. He has shared the news with his wife, the famous singer Shakira.
He says goodbye and leaves with his people from Kosmos in search of a good restaurant to continue celebrating. And then, to the airport. Barcelona begins its Spanish soccer league season on Saturday.
By INSIDER Miguel Hernandez in Orlando
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