Stan Wawrinka posts Ricky Gervais meme after swipe at Gerard Pique and the Davis Cup

Stan Wawrinka emotional Credit: Alamy
Stan Wawrinka emotional Credit: Alamy

The Davis Cup is underway and Stan Wawrinka voiced his annoyance at the format of the team tennis event.

Wawrinka is part of the Switzerland team playing a trio of matches in Group B in the 2023 Davis Cup Finals group stage.

While the matches featuring host nation Great Britain have attracted big crowds and Sunday’s match against France is a sell-out the revised format of the competition presents challenges for organisers with other nations also playing at the same venue.

Great Britain, Switzerland, France and Australia make up an attractive group in Manchester and some star players are taking part, yet it is hard to sell tickets for matches that do not feature the host nation.

This format of the Davis Cup was changed when the Kosmos Group led by former Barcelona defender Gerard Pique went into partnership with the International Tennis Federation to relaunch the World Cup of team tennis in August 2018.

That ended the traditional and hugely popular home ties for individual nations, which produced some of the dramatic scenes in tennis over the last century.

The new format sees 16 nations divided into four groups and will compete in a round-robin format.

The top two teams in each group after the round-robin will advance to the Final 8 where they will have the chance to be crowned world champions.

Yet there was a clear lack of interest in the opening match in Manchester as Switzerland took on France in front of a sparsely populated arena in Manchester.

That inspired three-time Grand Slam champion to post a message suggesting the current format of the competition was not working.

His message instantly attracted millions of views and he then followed it up with another tweet insisting he didn’t care who he offended with his tweet.

The deal between the ITF and Kosmos was terminated in January, with the dispute between the two parties ongoing.

Yet for now, tennis is working with a format that is clearly not popular with Wawrinka.

The format has been tweaked over the past two years after the 2020 edition was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with last year’s tournament featuring a group stage held across four cities including Glasgow in September before a final eight showdown in Malaga in November.

The ITF has committed to keeping the same format for this year, but the future direction of the competition is clouded in uncertainty, according to reports.

One of the criticisms of the old format was top players were no longer prepared to commit several weeks across the year to Davis Cup but Great Britain’s Dan Evans believes reverting back could prove a success.

“The younger generation, I think they are pumped to win the Davis Cup,” he said. “We changed it when I don’t think it necessarily needed the whole format changing.

“Davis Cup is about the fans. It’s not about the players, in my opinion. If you’ve got home and away, I think you’re still getting a good crowd.

“Glasgow was tough for the other matches (not involving Britain). It doesn’t look good for the tournament.”

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