Gerard Pique's proposed tennis revolution backed by Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Charlie Eccleshare
Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique watching the Madrid Open on Monday - Getty Images Europe

The saviour for international tennis competition could be arriving in the unlikely form of Spain and Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, who has presented his vision of the "The World Cup of Tennis". 

Pique has been in Madrid this week to meet with executives and players to discuss his idea for a 16-team single location tournament played over 10 days to rival the Davis Cup, which many believe has gone stale. 

The current Davis Cup format of three-day ties with best of five set matches spread over weekends in February, April, September and November has led to many of the leading players turning their back on the competition. 

Pique, a big tennis fan who owns his own video games company and has taken an active role in Barcelona's commercial interests over the last couple of years, met with ATP chiefs including CEO Chris Kermode in Madrid this week to discuss his proposal. The centre-back attended the ATP World Tour Finals last year and believes that an international event with sizeable prize money provided by sponsors and with a reduced workload would be attractive to the Tour's stars. 

Encouragingly for Pique, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal all leant their support to his proposals on Thursday. 

Andy Murray is in favour of Pique's proposals

"I think that it's a really exciting idea. If it comes off, I think it would be a very, very good thing for tennis," said Murray, who led Great Britain to their first Davis Cup for 79 years in 2015, but has missed their last three ties.

"We've exchanged messages," Murray continued after his straight-sets defeat to Borna Coric. "I think there's still a lot of things that need to be worked out before it potentially happens, but I think it would be a very good thing for tennis.

"Tennis needs an event like that, and I think it would be very good."

Nadal, who has barely played for Spain's Davis Cup team since winning the competition for a fourth time in 2011 said of the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) reluctance to change the competition: "For many years they have been static. They haven't moved with the times or looked for new solutions.

"Pique is part of a group that wants to create a World Cup that would be a great and very interesting tournament to compete in. It would be a fantastic initiative if it goes through and hopefully it will." 

Rafael Nadal has also been impressed by Pique's suggestions

Djokovic has also been critical of the ITF for its perceived conservatism, and he said on Thursday: "To see one of the football greats coming to the tennis world and trying to support it personally, but also in some structural business way, can only bring positives to our sport. We did talk several times. 

"The tennis world is complex if I can say, because there are many different governing bodies and many different associations that have the control over certain aspects of the game or tournaments.

"The schedule is quite complicated, but I'm really glad that there are people like Gerard that are willing to invest the time and energy to make this game better, so hopefully it's going to come to life."

The ITF will vote on changes to the Davis Cup at its AGM on August 4, with the main reform expected to be making singles matches best of three rather than best of five sets. The assembled members will also discuss whether to change to a neutral venue for the final, something Djokovic is vehemently opposed to. 

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