“Ask the ITF”: Gerard Pique claps back at Tennis star Stan Wawrinka’s angry callout for empty seats at Davis Cup

Gerard Pique is a sports icon and a Barcelona legend. However, his attempt at venturing into tennis has hit a huge roadblock. Pique is the ambassador and face of the Kosmos Group that provided an upheaval to the Davis Cup’s structure and format. It removed the home and away ties and designed the country vs country event as an end-of-season World Cupesque event with the final set to take place in November.

While Pique’s process of revamping the tournament was met with considerable interest from fans in the first few years, subsequent annual events have failed to garner the required recognition. This has prompted tennis star Stan Wawrinka to lash out at Pique as he views the changes to have caused dwindling attendances.


Gerard Pique claps back at Tennis star Stan Wawrinka’s angry tweet

The world No. 40 Wawrinka tweeted his disdain at audience participation in Manchester, where the Davis Cup is taking place.

“Thank you Gerard Pique and ITF! France vs. Switzerland in Manchester. lol” he wrote, and included an angry face emoji to showcase his feelings. The tweet contained a picture of the empty stands in the AO Arena in Manchester. 

Pique replied to Wawrinka in a post where he pointed out the success of the tournament under his stewardship. According to the statistics displayed by Pique, audience attendance was at a high last year but ever since the International Tennis Federation(ITF) severed ties with Kosmos, the showing has plummeted. 

“Last year attendance in the group stage. You can compare it for yourself @stanwawrinka. We don’t organize it anymore. Ask the @ITFTennis.” he wrote. 

However, Wawrinka might not have to wait too long for interest in the Davis Cup to rise again. The ITF ended their association with Kosmos in January after just five years.

Despite the untimely end to the partnership, this year’s Davis Cup will continue in the same format and any changes would happen only next year.


Why did Gerard Pique quit organising Davis Cup?

The partnership between ITF and Kosmos was prematurely terminated after they failed to come to a consensus on the royalties for this year’s tournament. They had been set at $40 million per event. Kosmos, Gerard Pique’s flagship brand, found the amount as inflated, after Covid-19 had hit the business hard. The agreement was signed prior to the pandemic. 

Gerard Pique

The agreement was planned for a timeline of 25 years, with an investment of around three billion dollars. 2021 and 2021’s figures paid to ITF were much lower, given the effects of the pandemic on business. 2022’s payment was set at around $32 million and was expected to rise upto $36 million the next year and $44 million later.

Kosmos asserted that the revenue it generated from the different venues – around $20 million – failed to offset the investment, which besides the royalties includes organisational costs and the cash prize, of around $10 million. This, according to Kosmos, left little in the bank to reinvest in improvements.

Despite the disappointment at being discarded from the event, Kosmos feels they have built a valuable brand through the management of the Davis Cup. Kosmos aims to build on their current brand value and get involved in other sport tournaments and grow their business. Their foray into player management has been met with considerable praise, with players like Andrey Rublev and Borna Coric becoming part of their roster.


What are your opinions on Gerard Pique’s sudden exit from managing Davis Cup? Will the football star get involved with other tennis tournaments too? Let us know in the comments section below. 




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