The men’s professional tennis circuit is going through a special period when it comes to calendar compression.
In addition to the natural interest generated by Grand Slams and the regulatory pressure that little less compels them to compete in all the ATP 1000, is compounded by the logical and unfavorable appetite of the owners and, fundamentally, the sponsors of the least profitable tournaments for the big figures, who pretend to have the best in the ranking. Sometimes, the demands produce an inevitable clash between the desire of the owners of the money and the physical and mental possibility of those who gamble.
The main victim of this scenario, which has been repeated and strengthened for years, is undoubtedly the Davis Cup.
It is true that the original damage to the most prestigious annual trophy in the sport was caused by the very logic of the calendar: it is difficult to find someone in the ATP who agrees to respect the weeks necessary for the team competition. Without going any further, in this week of Davis qualifying series, the Montpellier tournament was played simultaneously, which, for example, resulted in the absence of Alexander Bublik, by far the main figure in Kazakhstan, for his away match against Argentina.
It is also true that, desperately pursuing a formula that seduces big figures to compete in the Cup, the ITF endured a resounding failure after the company Kosmos unilaterally terminated its contract as the tournament’s billionaire financier.
In any case, 2024 is an even more complex year in this challenge: there are Olympic Games.
Let’s imagine the stage. The group stage leading up to the November finals in Malaga will be played in four venues in the second week of September. Considering that the strongest part of the circuit begins in may with Roland Garros, continues at the end of June at Wimbledon, which ends in July, the same month of the games, whose final is held a few weeks before the US Open, the last crucial stage in terms of ranking changes, it’s easy to imagine how much it will cost some captains to assemble their cup teams.
Beyond any subjective assessment, the illusion that what seems to be an inevitable path to renewal also includes Davis is reasonable.
After the Australian Open and considering what has been insinuated for two seasons, everything seems to indicate that the succession of the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic trilogy will be replaced by what until now is a two-sided triangle, with Jannick Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz as permanent members. The third vertex would be Daniil Medvedev, an undisputed figure but part of a much older generation than those mentioned.
Just as Davis will surely suffer with this scenario, we can be in the presence of a formidable spectacle at the Olympic Roland Garros. That luxury that we will give ourselves twelve years after the two Wimbledons won by Andy Murray, the All England classic and the one with the wonderful London games.
In other words, when it comes to playing for glory and the flag, the rings weigh much more than the mythical cup.