Lleyton Hewitt slams ‘ridiculous’ decision to ‘sell soul of the Davis Cup to the Middle East’

Lleyton Hewitt press conference

Lleyton Hewitt has urged David Cup chiefs to walk away from the temptation of moving the competition to Abu Dhabi after claiming the switch would be “selling the soul” of the competition.

Back in 2019 Hewitt described the decision to restructure the tournament and move the finals to one country as “mind-boggling” and the former world No 1 was again critical after Australia’s defeat to Croatia in their opening rubber in Turin on Thursday.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) will decide next week about the host venue for the finals for the next five years with Abu Dhabi reportedly a shoo-in.

The former world No 1 made no secret of the fact that he is opposed to the move.

“I think it is ridiculous – it’s not what Davis Cup is about,” said Hewitt.

He added: “So if they are going and selling the soul of the Davis Cup to the Middle East for another five years, they are really killing the competition.

“Some of my greatest memories were playing in Davis Cup semis and finals, in front of packed houses, and it didn’t matter if it was in Australia, or it was away.

“The atmosphere was incredible. Davis Cup was held in the highest regard – it was up there with the pinnacle of our sport in men’s tennis.”

Barcelona star Gerard Pique’s Kosmos investment group is the brainchild behind the Davis Cup overhaul and Hewitt previously said the Spaniard “knows nothing about tennis”.

And he again hit out at the football player.

“It’s being run by a soccer player and his company so it’s totally different to anything tennis has been through in the past. The ITF certainly didn’t come to me and ask my thoughts,” he said.

“But we didn’t have input four years ago, so I’m not sure it’s going to matter much now.”