Davis Cup

Rakuten To Become Global Partner for Davis Cup

Rakuten, Inc. and Kosmos Tennis have announced a multiyear agreement with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for Rakuten to become the Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner and Global Presenting Partner for the Davis Cup in 2019 and 2020.

Under the terms of the agreement, the competition will be renamed the Davis Cup by Rakuten. The partnership agreement links the Davis Cup and Rakuten until 2020, with the option of a further two-year extension. Rakuten will have high visibility in the Finals and Qualifiers.

Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc. said, “By becoming the global partner of the Davis Cup, Rakuten has taken another important step forward in our mission to inspire and empower people across the globe. We are firm believers in the power of sport to bring people and communities together, and to inspire optimism and innovation.”
David Haggerty, ITF President, said, “We are delighted to welcome Rakuten as Global Presenting and Global Innovation and Entertainment partner. The Davis Cup has always been about maintaining tradition while embracing innovation. Adopting new technologies for the Davis Cup is allowing us to enter exciting new partnerships, and we look forward to working with Rakuten to reach a global audience in new and diverse ways.”

Javier Alonso, CEO Kosmos Tennis, said, “Having Rakuten as the main sponsor of the event is great news for the Davis Cup, the World Cup of Tennis. Innovation and entertainment is key both Rakuten and Kosmos. We are excited about working together to create new engagement formulas of interaction with the fans both inside and outside of Caja Mágica in order to improve their experience with the Davis Cup Qualifiers and the Madrid Finals.”
Rakuten, empowering people and society through sports

With over 1.2 billion members worldwide, Rakuten will leverage its experience and expertise in e-commerce and membership loyalty programmes to bring global innovation to the Davis Cup through digital and offline activations aimed at enhancing the complete fan experience. Future plans include opening up new avenues of online communications and content-sharing for supporters, including use of the Rakuten Viber global messaging platform and creating new programmes that will engage and reward fans both in-venue and globally.

Rakuten is globally recognised for its partnerships with sporting icons such as FC Barcelona, the Golden State Warriors and the National Basketball Association, and its ownership of J.League professional soccer team Vissel Kobe and Nippon Professional Baseball team Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. The company also serves as the title sponsor of the ATP Rakuten Japan Open since 2009 and contributes to sports worldwide as part of its mission of empowering people and communities.

Tickets on sale now
Tickets for the Davis Cup Madrid Finals, which will be held from 18-24 November at Caja Mágica in Madrid, are on sale now via the official website. Tickets start from €25 and special rates for children are also included.
The 18 teams competing for the chance to become world champion and lift the Davis Cup trophy are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Spain and USA.

David Ferrer’s Incredible Career Mostly Went Under The Radar

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

In 2016, when I had gone to cover the Davis Cup World Group Play-off between India and Spain in the Indian capital New Delhi, I got a chance to briefly speak one-on-one with David Ferrer. It was quite a fortuitous occurrence if I could say so, brought about by virtue of him leaving the press room all alone after a joint press conference addressed by the Spanish team. For me, it was a tick against a long-compiled bucket list of players with whom I wanted to professionally interact.

And while I cannot recollect the questions – though the article is still archived – which were largely dated, the memory of mustering the courage to walk up to Ferrer and ask him if he would talk to me still lingers on. As does the fact that barring true-blue followers of the game who had come to attend the matches, not many knew about Ferrer, or were keen to more about the player.

From the global standpoint, one could never be so crass as to attribute the same lack of knowledge about the Spaniard. However, in a way, those three days in India – despite him winning both his singles rubbers to help Spain claim a 5-0 whitewash over the hosts – encapsulated the minutiae of how a swathe of Ferrer’s career went under the radar. As they emphasised the constant underestimation of his on-court capabilities. This underestimation, then, still holds true. Even as lately as his match against Alexander Zverev in his last hard-court tournament, at the 2019 Miami Open.

The win over Alexander Zverev in Miami, ending the German’s run of four successive wins against him, too, summarised the other side of the coin that has been the 36-year-old’s career. Of thriving when least expected, and putting on avowing performance such that not only his game would speak for him but the focus would also remain centred on it.

This dichotomy, then, defines Ferrer’s near-20-year-old career. To be a player who is grounded in his strengths as though raising self-awareness about his susceptibilities and yet someone who never stopped striving to get better. Like reaching his first Major final after having played 42 Majors without making it to the second Sunday.

Many would rue that this opportunity came in a little too late as it has often been said about him missing out on a lot because of the competitiveness of the era of which he was a part. Such introspection would be doing the man a disservice in solely using numbers and statistics as a convenient measure of accomplishment.

It rarely happens in sports that less comes to denote more. But this is quite true if one were to describe Ferrer’s career. It may not have the prescribed standards of title hauls but it was no less enriching and satisfying the way it has been, arching into a peak of its own making, mindless and unheeding of the doubts and scepticisms, especially those that came about camouflaged as plaudits.

Beyond this, on a personal note, being inspired by Ferrer and his career is also the completion of an unlikely circle. One that began after a misunderstanding involving his name and that of Federer’s, back when I had just started following the game over a decade ago.

Schedule Announced For Davis Cup Finals In Madrid

The ITF and Kosmos Tennis have today announced the schedule for the Davis Cup Finals, taking place in Madrid from 18 to 24 November.

The group stage ties will take place Monday to Thursday. One quarter-final will be played on Thursday evening while the other three will be played on Friday, followed by the semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday 24 November. All matches are best of three sets, with two singles and doubles match.

The Group B match between Croatia and Russia will begin proceedings on Centre Court, and will be followed closely by the Spanish fans, with Spain also in Group B.

Spain will first play on the afternoon of Tuesday 19 on Centre Court against Russia, following an exciting meeting between Argentina and Chile.

Number 1 seeds France will also play on Tuesday, in the morning session against Japan. This second day of competition will also see Canada take on USA.

A total of 18 teams are competing in six groups in the group stage. The six group winners plus the two best second placed teams, based on percentage of sets won, will progress to the quarter-finals.

The two lowest placed teams after the group stage will play in the Zone Group competition the following year. The 12 teams that finish in 5th to 16th position will compete in the Davis Cup Qualifiers in 2020. All four semi-finalists will automatically qualify for the 2020 Davis Cup Madrid Finals.

Davis Cup Madrid Finals Schedule:

Monday 18 November
Evening session:
Centre Court – Croatia v Russia
Stadium 2 – Canada v Italy
Stadium 3 – Belgium v Colombia

Tuesday 19 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Argentina v Chile
Stadium 2 – France v Japan
Stadium 3 – Kazakhstan v Netherlands

Evening session:
Centre Court – Spain v Russia
Stadium 2 – USA v Canada
Stadium 3 – Australia v Colombia

Wednesday 20 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Argentina v Germany
Stadium 2 – Serbia v Japan
Stadium 3 – Great Britain v Netherlands

Evening session:
Centre Court – Croatia v Spain
Stadium 2 – USA v Italy
Stadium 3 – Belgium v Australia

Thursday 21 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – France v Serbia
Stadium 2 – Germany v Chile
Stadium 3 – Great Britain v Kazakhstan

Evening session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group D v Winner Group F

Friday 22 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group A v Runner Up (*)

Evening session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group B v Runner Up (*)
Stadium 2 – Quarter-final: Winner Group E v Winner Group C

Saturday 23 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Semi-final (top half)

Evening sessions:
Centre Court – Semi-final (bottom half)

Sunday 24 November
Time TBC
Centre Court – Final

(*) to be determined by draw

David Cup Finals Groups:
Group A: France (1), Serbia, Japan
Group B: Croatia (2), Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina (3), Germany, Chile
Group D: Belgium (4), Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain (5), Kazakhstan, Netherlands
Group F: USA (6), Italy, Canada

India – Pakistan Davis Cup Controversy Brings Politics, Once Again, Into Sports

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

In crises, there is no better arbitrator than sports. Yet, paradoxically, sports (and sportspersons) are the first to be in crosshairs when political discourses go awry. The fallout brought about by flawed politics on sportspersons emerges in various forms, too.

There was Adolf Hitler who spun the narrative of Aryan superiority at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by disallowing participation of Jewish athletes. If that could be regarded as an exercise in moderation (by Hitler’s standards), Middle-eastern violence spilt over before the world when Palestinian terrorists abducted Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Interspersed along the way, then, are the other eventualities involving the non-participation of players – both forced and voluntary – in certain countries.

The latter bias is experienced by Israeli athletes who are often regarded as anathema by their Islamic neighbours in the Middle-east. It is also faced by sportspersons hailing from two nations in the Indian sub-continent – from India that gives the region its name and its immediate neighbour to the west, Pakistan – wanting to travel across the border for tournaments. And, this has been reiterated in the wake of the recent act of terrorism.

The suicide attack on India’s paramilitary forces on 14th February, in Kashmir, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) led to the death of 44 personnel. Even as the nation mourned for its dead, numbed and shocked by the audacity of the attack, calls grew louder asking for a fitting response. And, once it emerged that the bomber – a radicalised Kashmir-native – belonging to a terrorist outfit hailing from across the border, beyond calling out for the engagement of the Indian army, clamouring also grew asking for a blanket ban in all bilateral activities involving Pakistan.

Several Bollywood producers and actors have announced their decisions to stop upcoming movies from being released in the west-Asian country. But the louder impact has been on the sporting front, with Pakistani shooters not being granted visas to play in the Shooting World Cup (starting 23rd February) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) contemplating asking for a ban on Pakistan cricket team’s participation at the Cricket World Cup, to be played in England in May this year.

Narrowing the scope of this problem from other domains to tennis, this frustration also looks likely to spread over to the upcoming Davis Cup Group I tie between Pakistan and India, in Islamabad, in September. Prior to the attack on Indian soil – and on Indian soldiers – the All India Tennis Association (AITA) had cautiously admitted that India would be travelling to Pakistan rather than forfeit it and incur stringent penalties from the ITF. However, the wave of nationalistic fervour going around in the country has made it imperative – and near-impossible – for the AITA to take a like-minded call as the other sporting bodies of the country regardless of the consequences it would have to face.

So, why would Indian tennis – and the rest of the Indian sporting authorities – want to put their reputations on the line? Beyond India, then, why does every nation want to put the onus on sports as an entity to bear the burden of avenging politics?

Shallow as this seems, it is, however, not hard to understand why this has endured for so long.

Between the two nations, sports is about demonstrating nationalism – not just patriotism – as it is about displaying jingoism. When a team or a player enters a sporting arena, their presence ceases to be about the team or the player in isolation but becomes a part of the whole – the country, so to speak. To that end, references to the team or the player’s nationality are sought to be put out in the more beyond cursory acknowledgement. And while it is not right, those who are keen to hype up nationalistic references beyond tokenism in such manner, don’t consider it wrong in any way.

Then, perhaps, it is because of the latter mindset that sports finally makes itself known as a leveller unlike any other. Its spirit was truly reflected in the likes of Luz Long who helped Jesse Owens sprint away to Olympic glory before Hitler’s eyes at the Berlin Games as in tennisdom, it emerged the strongest in the teaming up of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.

Draw Announced for Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals In Madrid

The ITF and Kosmos Tennis have announced the draw for the Davis Cup Madrid Finals which was made this evening at La Real Casa de Correos in the host city of Madrid.

The Davis Cup Madrid Finals will take place on 18-24 November when 18 nations will compete for the first time in one city, over one week, in a bid to win the prestigious trophy and be crowned World Champions.

The 18 nations have been divided into six groups of three teams. The six group winners and two best second placed teams (based on percentage sets, games and points won) will advance to the knockout phase of the competition.

Defending champions Croatia, the second seeds, have been drawn against Russia and the host nation, and five-time Davis Cup winners Spain, in Group B. The top seeds France will contest Group A against Serbia and Japan.

David Haggerty, ITF President said: “This draw marks another stage of the journey to the Davis Cup Finals where these 18 nations will give their all for their teammates, their country and their fans. Now that the teams know their opponents the anticipation can really build to what will be a spectacular event in November.”

Gerard Piqué, Founder and President of Kosmos, partner of the Davis Cup Madrid Finals added: “We are extremely proud to see how, step by step, the Davis Cup Madrid Finals take shape and become, without a doubt, one of the great sporting events of the year. The draw we witnessed today has provided an exciting setting for the competition. The diversity and contrasting styles of the teams and the huge enthusiasm with which they will all arrive in Madrid is undoubtedly the best guarantee of the great performance that awaits us. Madrid will be the world capital of tennis and sport for a week, bringing together fans from 18 countries, offering them a unique experience that they will surely not forget”.

The event was also attended by a group of dignitaries, led by the President of the Region of Madrid, Angel Garrido and Luis Cueto, General Coordinator of the Mayor.

Angel Garrido said: “It is an honour for Madrid to host this new format that will attract tourists who we are ready to host with success. In Madrid, we support these big events as well as participation in sport at every level.”

Luis Cueto, also said: “This is the result of a lot of dreams and ambitions. Tennis is a sport of respect and people will always remember that the Davis Cup Finals began in Madrid. We want to share the culture of Madrid of coexistence, sustainability and respect with everyone. La Caja Magica will become even more magical in November.”

DAVIS CUP FINALS GROUP STAGE:
Group A: France (1), Serbia, Japan
Group B: Croatia (2), Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina (3), Germany, Chile
Group D: Belgium (4), Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain (5), Kazakhstan, Netherlands
Group F: USA (6), Italy, Canada

The draw for the quarter-finals was also made:

1. Winner Group A v Runner Up 1 or 2
2. Winner Group D v Winner Group F
3. Winner Group E v Winner Group C
4. Winner Group B v Runner Up 1 or 2

The draw was broadcast to an international audience, through broadcasters and livestream, across many platforms and channels.

Lleyton Hewitt vs. Bernard Tomic – An Analysis

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

Australians Alex de Minaur, Alexei Popyrin and Alex Bolt came up with impressive performances for their nation when the world and its tennis players gathered to play the season’s first major there in Melbourne at the Australian Open. Lleyton Hewitt, the country’s Davis Cup captain and its last major titlist (among the men), speaking highly of them also effectively shut any doubts that may have lingered about their individual potential.

All this made for a perfect segue – of a country’s old sporting guard validating the credentials of the new – except for one, major blot marring the scene. That of Bernard Tomic who, a few years ago, had been similarly welcomed into the fold as one of Australia’s brightest future prospects and who accused Hewitt of throttling his career – especially when it came to playing the Davis Cup – and prioritising his self-interests.

The continuing spillage of rebutting allegations and counter-rebuttals to these between Hewitt and Tomic has now taken on a distinct note of “He Said-He Said”. Aside from this, however, the ongoing fracas has led to implications beyond a cursory professional falling-out.

Tomic’s accusations at the Australian Open that Hewitt was creating a conflict of interest both by captaining the Australian Davis Cup team and continuing to play professionally on the ATP Tour does present the former world No. 1 in an unflattering light. Although Hewitt did not play the doubles rubber in Australia’s Davis Cup qualifier tie against Bosnia-Herzegovina in February in Adelaide, the fact that he would be playing doubles in a few upcoming ATP events then conveys the message that he is trying to secure the best of both worlds for himself.

Not that being the Davis Cup captain and playing on the Tour are mutually exclusive. But while Hewitt had made a big show of announcing his retirement from the circuit a couple of years ago, there is a lack of certitude and clarity as to what is his status on the circuit presently. Is Hewitt to be considered retired, professional, semi-retired or semi-professional?

Hewitt’s response to Tomic’s allegations that the 26-year-old had issued threats and blackmailed him – and his family – highlighted his thuggish behaviour all over again. Hewitt’s stance of not being keen on selecting Tomic in the Australian Davis Cup squad was also justified, given Tomic’s penchant of displaying lack of commitment in matches, and towards the sport in general.

Also, considering that Tomic had blown a seemingly innocuous question about his availability for the Davis Cup into a theory of ill-intentions, not only towards him but also towards his compatriots – Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis – neither of whom who were in the picture nor a part of the question, showed his immaturity once again. Then, he may have had raised valid concerns about Hewitt purportedly side-lining Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, but his rant was definitely ill-timed. Most importantly, Tomic need not have tagged Tennis Australia, too, into the fracas thereby forcing them to pick a side – which they eventually did. To that end, Tomic lost twice-over when Tennis Australia not only sided with their Davis Cup captain but also cut off the financial support that it had been providing him.

Interestingly, in Tomic’s downward spiral touching a new low – after his interview with Chanel 9’s 60 Minutes, in which he accepted that he had indeed threatened Hewitt – the initial point he had been trying to raise, about Hewitt’s status quo in the general scheme of things, was conveniently deflected. Moreover, with the Australian team marching to the Davis Cup finals with a mammoth 4-0 win over the Eastern European nation, Hewitt’s assertive captaincy has come to be seen as redoubtable so much so that his statement of Tomic never donning Australian colours for the Davis Cup takes on an ominous ring, shutting the door on Tomic in more ways than one.

Analyzing The New Davis Cup Format’s First Weekend

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

A lot had been said about the reinvention of the Davis Cup when the discussions surrounding its reformatting raged in 2018. Across 1st-2nd February when the Davis Cup qualifiers were played for the first time, one finally got to see how the new format would pan out.

In the end, it became a guiding point illustrating how abruptly the results came about and how hurriedly the ties would end, from here on.

To elaborate with statistical context, three of the 12 ties – Brazil versus Belgium, Germany versus Hungary and Colombia versus Sweden – were determined in straight sets. Of the remaining nine ties, merely 20 rubbers went the distance to three sets. Within these rubbers that were played as best-of-three, eight were played in doubles. Germany versus Hungary was the only tie where only singles rubbers were played as best-of-three: the first singles rubber between Philipp Kohlschreiber and Zsombor Piros, and the second reverse-single rubber between Philipp Kohlschreiber and David Szintai. Moreover, across all ties, there were no upsets and the favourites ruled the roost.

The latter facet is the biggest differentiator between the past and present editions of the Davis Cup. Previously, the longer, best-of-five format gave the players enough room to try and eke out a comeback in a rubber, even when trailing by two sets. Not only for the unseeded teams and their players but especially for the higher-ranked players susceptible to nerves that were unique to the tournament.

Bluntly put, quantitative measurement of time – spent on the court – had brushed aside qualitative memories. And while this happened, opinions that were divided on the efficacy of the changes made to the tournament’s format – in terms of quality versus quantity (of time) – continued to remain diverged, both before and after the ties.

In the press conference after Italy’s 3-1 routing of India, Andreas Seppi said, “For me, I think it’s better to play shorter matches. The format is okay, and also in two days maybe it gives me more time to go to the next tournament if you want to play. Davis Cup (has) had a lot of tradition over 100 years, and sometimes changes are good and sometimes not.” On the other hand, while his team did him proud by winning all four rubbers it played in straight sets, Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt did not hesitate to call out Gerard Pique, the ardent promoter and investor of the revamped tournament in one of his press conferences, before the start of the qualifiers.

“Now we’re getting run by a Spanish football player, which is like me come out and asking to change things for the Champions League. He knows nothing about tennis,” said Hewitt. The former world no. 1’s observations extended his vocal criticism on a development he has regarded as interference to the continuity of the tournament. But where Hewitt’s stance remained unchanged – there were those who preferred to adopt a wait-and-watch approach with regard to the format’s effectiveness in the November finals. Like Simone Bolelli, who admitted, “This format obviously is different but for us this tie was good. I think sometimes it is good, sometimes it is not. But we have to try (in the final) and we will see.”

Bolelli’s measured words offer much-needed pragmatism as to how things would change for Italy, and for several other qualifiers, in the finals in Madrid. Where, they would have been reduced to relative underdogs across the finals’ week from being the favourites one weekend.

To that end, the illusion of open-endedness of the tournament created by the truncated results in the qualifiers stands to come to an end during the finals’ week. Because, the redesigned format endeavours to reward a team whose players are better-suited to the shortened game than to displays of consistency and endurance. And, to the detriment of those with vested interests in the re-imagined tournament, this further restricts its already-narrowed scope.

Mardy Fish Named New U.S. Davis Cup Captain

The USTA today announced that former world No. 7 and Davis Cup veteran Mardy Fish has been named the new captain of the U.S. Davis Cup Team. He succeeds Jim Courier to become the 41st captain in the team’s 120-year history and will make his debut at the newly transformed Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals November 18-24 in Madrid, Spain.

“Ever since I started playing professionally and started understanding what the Davis Cup was and how special it was, even as a player, I wanted to be the Davis Cup Captain,” Fish said. “I just thought that position was so special – leading the guys and leading the team, building relationships and the team aspect around it. I’m a team-sport athlete stuck in an individual sport, and I love the team aspect of Davis Cup. To even be considered, let alone named the Captain, is incredibly humbling.”

In this new era of Davis Cup, the role of Captain will be expanded, with the position working more closely with USTA Player Development throughout the year, as well as traveling to multiple tournaments and camps to support American players, serving as a mentor for American pros and juniors. He will also ensure the U.S. Davis Cup team remains a strong platform to grow the game through the USTA’s Net Generation youth initiative.

“Mardy Fish embodies all of the qualities of a successful Davis Cup Captain and will be an invaluable asset to Team USA,” said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Patrick Galbraith. “His achievements as a player both on tour and in Davis Cup are renowned, and his acumen for the game is as strong as his relationships with our American players. There are few people in tennis as qualified to lead the U.S. Davis Cup Team into the next decade, and we cannot wait to see what that future has in store under Mardy’s leadership.”

Fish, 37, reached the singles quarterfinals at three of the four Grand Slams and won a combined 14 ATP titles (six singles, eight doubles) before retiring from playing at the 2015 US Open. He also produced a number of signature performances while representing his country, earning the singles silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and writing his name in the U.S. Davis Cup record book.

Fish played in 11 Davis Cup ties for the U.S. from 2002-12 and is still the last U.S. Davis Cup player to win three live matches in a single tie, in a 3-1 World Group Playoff win in Colombia in 2010 that kept alive the U.S.’s now-record uninterrupted streak in the World Group. Fish’s two singles victories in that tie were five-setters, and he and Courier are the only U.S. Davis Cup players to win two five-set matches in the same tie. In his last Davis Cup playing appearance, Fish beat Stan Wawrinka in five sets and teamed with Mike Bryan to beat Wawrinka and Roger Federer in a 5-0 sweep of Switzerland in the 2012 First Round.

After retiring in 2015, Fish worked part-time as a coach with USTA Player Development, helping to guide young Americans on tour, including Taylor Fritz and Jared Donaldson, through 2017.

Founded in 1900, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis and is the largest annual international team competition in sport, with approximately 135 nations competing each year. The U.S. leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles. The U.S. holds a 219-72 all-time Davis Cup record, and owns the longest uninterrupted run in the World Group, dating back to 1989. For more information, including access to player and historical Davis Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/daviscup or www.daviscup.com.

Albert Costa Named Davis Cup Tournament Director In Madrid

Albert Costa, a former Davis Cup champion with extensive experience as director of tennis tournaments and development projects, has joined Kosmos Tennis’s team as Competition Director and Davis Cup finals Tournament Director.

Costa will oversee all sporting aspects of the competition and the implementation of the new Davis Cup format in 2019, following the agreement signed by Kosmos Tennis and the ITF on 16 August at the ITF AGM in Orlando.

“We are really proud to have Albert Costa in our team to be part of our project and share with us the vision and enthusiasm to consolidate this new historic stage of the competition,” said Javier Alonso, CEO of Kosmos Tennis. “His experience as a former elite tennis player and Davis Cup captain, as well as his subsequent successful tennis projects, will provide huge impetus to the development of Kosmos Tennis’s sports capability. On behalf of the whole team, I want to give Albert our warmest welcome.”

Costa will be the second former player to join the company following Galo Blanco, Chief Competition Officer of Kosmos Tennis and member of the Davis Cup Steering Committee.

Albert Costa said: “Joining this project offers me a superb new challenge. I’m very excited that my work with Kosmos Tennis will give me the opportunity to get involved in the Davis Cup again, a competition I witnessed and enjoyed from the inside and from which I had many positive experiences. We still have a long way to go and I want to thank Kosmos Tennis for the opportunity and the trust they have placed in me at this new stage in my professional career.”

Albert Costa competed as a professional tennis player from 1992 to 2006. During his career, he won 12 titles, including 2002 Roland Garros, and was ranked in the world´s Top 10. Costa was also a member of the team that won the first Davis Cup for Spain in 2000 at Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, and was the captain of the Spanish team from 2009 until 2011, winning two more titles (Barcelona in 2009 and Sevilla in 2011). He is one of 18 tennis players who, throughout the 118 years of Davis Cup history, has won the title both as a player and as a captain.

Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in sport, with 127 nations taking part in 2018. The competition is 118 years old, having been founded in 1900. The title sponsor is BNP Paribas (Official Bank of Davis Cup). International sponsors are Rolex (Official Timekeeper) and Adecco (Official HR Sponsor), while Head (Official Ball) is an international partner. beIN SPORTS is the Official Global Media Rights Partner. In 2019, the all-new Davis Cup by BNP Paribas finals will be hosted at the iconic La Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain. Twenty-four nations will contest the Qualifiers on 1-2 February, competing in 12 locations around the world on a home-and-away basis. The 12 winning teams will join the 2018 semi-finalists plus two wild card teams in an 18-nation Davis Cup season finale.

Tennis Champion Ken Flach’s Legacy Includes Widow’s Mission to Eliminate Sepsis Death

On March 12, 2018, Olympic Gold Medalist, and lifelong athlete, Ken Flach, died a preventable death due to sepsis. Now, his widow, Christina Flach, is raising her voice to prevent other families from bearing the same loss. Christina has been interviewed by several news organizations, and is seeking further advocacy opportunities to share Ken’s story and save lives.

Ken was a strong, healthy athlete. His trophy room is filled with tokens from his wins at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the Davis Cup, the Olympics, and Grand Slam tournaments. Ken officially retired from the professional tennis circuit in the 1990s, but the 54-year-old stayed active well into retirement. His favorite pastime, golf, kept him outdoors and energetic until just a week before his death. His healthy lifestyle highlights the insidious nature of sepsis, which can strike anyone, at any age, no matter how wholesome their habits are.

Within a week of Ken’s last golf game, he came down with what he thought was a cold. However, instead of getting better with rest, he began feeling worse than ever before. When Christina shares her husband’s story in interviews, she talks about how fast sepsis set in and became irreversible, the mistakes that were made by the healthcare system, and the importance of self-advocacy when it comes to health.

“Sepsis is tricky because it is treatable as long as it is caught early, but it is devastating if the diagnosis arrives too late. In Ken’s case, he called Kaiser asking for help, but they did not take his complaints seriously, and they concluded his problem was insignificant without even seeing him. It’s critical that people are aware of the symptoms, so they can act fast in order to get lifesaving treatment,” shared Christina, “You know your body. Trust your intuition. Sepsis symptoms are on a whole other level than your typical ailment. Get help as fast as possible, and don’t take no for an answer. Your life, or the life of your loved one, could be at risk.”
Christina has connected with Sepsis Alliance to help spread the word about sepsis in order to save as many lives as possible. September is Sepsis Awareness Month, so both Christina and Sepsis Alliance have been busy raising awareness about the leading cause of death in US hospitals. Christina shared her family’s story with KTVU’s Debora Villalon early this month, and also warned Bay Area sports fans on the Tolbert & Lund radio show.
“Lots of people have heard of sepsis, but they don’t know that it’s your body having a toxic response to an infection, they don’t know the symptoms, and they don’t know how fast-moving it is. With each interview, we have the opportunity to save someone’s life,” Christina noted of her mission.

Christina is available for interviews, and is willing to travel far-and-wide to raise the public’s awareness of sepsis and prevent further loss of life, and the grief that comes along with it. Interested parties can call (415)717-9864, email Christina(at)PrettyGirlMakeup.com, or connect with her on Facebook. Learn more about sepsis at http://www.sepsis.org, and tell our healthcare system to enact lifesaving sepsis protocols by signing this petition