New rules for the national tennis competition. The Italian team, sponsored by Italgas, out in the group. In the 2020 edition debut against South Korea
Tennis and industry are not as distant worlds as they might appear at first glance: to be successful in both you need preparation, loyalty and tension to the result. It was precisely from this initial consideration that Italgas decided to become the team sponsor of the Italian national men’s and women’s tennis teams in the Davis Cup and Fed Cup, in an agreement in which the leading company in the distribution of natural gas in Italy is also committed to supporting all national youth teams, women and men, under 12 – 14 – 16 – 18 and the national veterans team.
“We are united by the traditions and values of the country we represent and which we mention every time we indicate our name – said Paolo Gallo, CEO of Italgas, when presenting the sponsorship – As in sport, still today, more than 180 years after the foundation of Italgas, in our daily actions we play as a team, with continuous training we keep trained to achieve better results. In comparison with the market we believe in pure and fair competition”.
Italgas number one is also keen to underline the motivations that have led the company to bind itself with a partnership not only with the “major” national team, but also with the youth sectors: “The commitment to young people – he says – comes from the awareness of the importance of sport as a vehicle for education and training for the citizens of tomorrow, promoting aggregation, respect for others, the rules, the environment in which we live.
The new competition formula
From the new version of the Davis Cup the matches are reduced to two singles (no longer four) and one double, and the matches are played at the best of the three sets. In the final phase, which is held in November – after the 24-team qualifications – a total of 18 teams participate at the same time, while the quarter-finals are attended by the first two teams of each round and the two best second ones. The participation in the competition of the 18 best national teams, all together in a single tournament, is one of the main novelties of the new formula, which aims to make the event more spectacular.
The first “renewed” edition of the competition saw the triumph of Rafa Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut’s Spain (who took to the finals only four days after losing his father), who won the “salad bowl” by playing at home at the Caja Mágica in Madrid and beating Canada. This is the sixth success for the Iberian national team in Davis, after those achieved in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011. For the Canadian national team, which at the beginning of the week had eliminated Italy in the first round, it was instead the debut in the final.
The route of Italy
For the Italian national team the debut in the new Davis Cup was difficult: the team led by Corrado Barazzutti was in fact eliminated in the initial group stage of the tournament, in which he faced Canada and the United States. Against Canada, both Matteo Berrettini, number 8 in the Atp world ranking, in a very close match that ended with three tie-breaks (7-6 6-7 7-6) against Denis Shapovalov, and number 12 Fabio Fognini, in a hard-fought match against Vasek Pospisil that ended 7-6 7-5, lost their debut singles against Canada. The partial revenge then came from the double, where the two Azzurri won 6-2 3-6 6-3 against Pospisil and Shapovalov, thus showing their commitment and determination in trying to overcome the group stage anyway, maybe passing between the two best second. Two days later, in the match against the United States, a three-zero victory would have been necessary to be “fished out”: the Azzurri started off on the right foot, thanks to Fabio Fognini’s victory over Opelka (6-4 6-7 6-3). Italy then came close to qualifying with Matteo Berrettini, who won the first set against Taylor Fritz at the tie-break and managed to get to the six-all in the second, when the American managed to win in the tie-break and then took home the third set 6-2. Ininfluential to the qualification, at this point, the doubles, which the USA won thanks to the Querrey – Sock pair, with a 6-7 7-6 6-4 on Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.
An adventure in Davis, that of the Azzurri, which ended after an extremely hard-fought tournament and decided by a handful of points: the commitment of the Italians would have been enough a little help from luck, especially in the first match against Canada, to reach the quarter-finals. An appointment at this point postponed to the 2020 edition.
The scoreboard of the 2020 edition
Metabolized the defeat, Italy can start thinking about the preliminary round of the 2020 edition: the draw, which was made on the eve of the final, has decreed that the Azzurri of Barazzutti will have to face – playing at home – South Korea, with the matches scheduled on March 6 and 7, 2020. Against the Asian national team Italy had already played twice in Davis and obtained two victories: in 1981 in San Remo avoiding the relegation and in 1987 in Seoul.
What’s new for the coming year
To anticipate the possible “adjustments” of the new formula for next year was, on the day of the final Italy-Canada, the Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué, in this case in the role of founder and president of Kosmos, a group of investors that has been “married” to its project by the Itf (International Tennis Federation). “We need to improve the issue of timetables, but let’s keep in mind that there are many teams competing in a single week – Piqué said – But the feedback I had with Nadal, Djokovic and other great players was great. There is the possibility to organize a single competition of two weeks – he concluded – we will talk about it in the next months and then we will announce something”.
Italgas renews the sponsorship
After the first two years of sponsorship ending with the end of 2019, Italgas has decided to renew the agreement with the Italian tennis federation to extend the collaboration to the 2020 editions of Davis Cup and Fed Cup, remaining at the side of the Italian team.