'Odd to see footballer meddle in tennis'
Federer takes a shot at Pique
Roger Federer questioned Gerard Pique’s involvement in the controversial Davis Cup rebrand, opining that it was 'odd' to see a football player involved in the tennis competition's revamp.
Pique, the Barcelona centre-back, has been the frontman driving the new week-long Davis Cup proposals, which were approved by a two-thirds majority at a meeting of the International Tennis Federation’s member nations a fortnight ago.
The last week of November was originally suggested as the best time to host Pique's 18-team showdown, which his investment group Kosmos have pledged to support with an extraordinary $3 billion of funding over the next 25 years.
But in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro last week, Pique suggested September might be a better time to hold the new finals week.
In a hugely congested tennis calendar, this comment represented an act of aggression, because a September Davis Cup would directly challenge Federer's pet project, the Laver Cup.
Such was the context for Federer's comments on Tuesday, which he made after dispatching Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.
"The good part of all this confusion is that everyone will have to sit around one table and listen to the other's desires," said Federer. "The ITF, the ATP, the Laver Cup. It is true that the coming weeks may be very interesting.
"I have not spoken to Gerard Pique yet, but I admit that it's a bit odd to see a footballer arrive and meddle in the tennis business. Be careful: the Davis Cup should not become the Pique Cup. I am globally for innovations: our sport needs to think a little outside the box to innovate. But it's a bit like in a part of Jenga, you have to be careful not to remove the room that will bring down the whole building."