backing Pique in new Davis Cup venture
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[February 15, 2019]
(Reuters) - Lionel Messi is one
of the investors in the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid later this year,
according to Barcelona team mate Gerard Pique whose Kosmos company
has been instrumental in a revamp for the historic tennis
Pique's investment firm Kosmos has backed the new format to the tune
of $3 billion over 25 years and will jointly run the competition
alongside the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The inaugural 18-nation finals, which have replaced the 16-nation
World Group played throughout the year, will take place at Madrid's
La Caja Magica (Magic Box) stadium on Nov. 18-24.
Speaking before Thursday's draw ceremony, Pique confirmed Argentina
forward and fellow tennis fan Messi, who already has a stake in
Kosmos, was involved.
"Leo knows more than anyone about this because he is involved in
Kosmos," Pique was quoted as saying by British media on Friday.
"He is a partner, he is part of the Kosmos family, he likes tennis.
We have a relationship of 18 years since he arrived at the club and
I always try to share with him things I'm thinking, he loves to be
part of it and he wanted to be part of it."
Pique's involvement in the ITF's 119-year-old team competition has
drawn scorn in some quarters, with former world number one Lleyton
Hewitt, who will captain Australia at the event, questioning his
Swiss great Roger Federer even suggested the competition was in
danger of becoming the "Pique Cup".
"I hate it, because it's not about me and I don't want my name on
the competition," Pique said.
"Davis Cup history is so big. I hope we can change this opinion.
After a few years, I hope they go back and say 'We were wrong, Davis
Cup is more alive than ever'.
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Barcelona's Lionel Messi during the match. REUTERS/Vincent West
"I respect the opinion of Lleyton, he was a great player. I can
understand that when a footballer comes in the tennis world it can
seem a little bit awkward or strange, but at the end of the day I'm
not going to be changing the rules of tennis."
Pique, 32, also said he was too busy trying to help Barcelona win La
Liga and the Champions League than meddling too much in the ITF's
"I don't want to be distracted because I have another job, which is
to play football. It helps me be focused, more concentrated and not
to make mistakes on the pitch because otherwise I know there will be
criticism," he said in the Daily Mail.
The Davis Cup Finals, which will offer a large prize money pot, will
be staged in Madrid for two years before possibly moving to the
California resort of Indian Wells owned by another Kosmos
stakeholder Larry Ellison.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)
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