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TENNIS

Top stars get behind Gerard Piqué’s plans for a tennis World Cup

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique's plans as part of a consortium for a new World Cup of tennis event have been backed by leading players such as Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Top stars get behind Gerard Piqué's plans for a tennis World Cup
Gerard Piqué takes a selfie with a fan while watching Serbia's Novak Djokovic play Austria's Dominic Thiem at the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London on November 13th 2016. Photo: AFP

Pique was in the Spanish capital on Monday and Tuesday this week with negotiations ongoing on when and where such a tournament could fit into the packed tennis schedule.

The plans would see the whole tournament take place in one location over a maximum of 10 days.

“I think that it's a really exciting idea. If it comes off, I think it would be a very, very good thing for tennis,” said Murray after his defeat to Borna Coric at the Madrid Masters on Thursday.

“Tennis needs an event like that, and I think it would be very good.”

Such a tournament could spell more problems for the much-criticised Davis Cup, which currently has three-day matches spread over February, April, September and November.

As a result many of the sport's biggest stars have turned their back on the competition in order to prioritise preparations for Grand Slams

“For many years they have been static,” Nadal said of the Davis Cup organisers the International Tennis Federation.

“They haven't moved with the times or looked for new solutions.”

“Pique is part of a group that wants to create a World Cup that would be a great and very interesting tournament to compete in.

“It would be a fantastic initiative if it goes through and hopefully it will.”

Djokovic also backed the plans after saying he had met personally with Pique “several times.”

“The schedule is quite complicated, but I'm really glad that there are people like Gerard that are willing to invest the time and energy to make this game better,” said the Serb.

“Hopefully it's going to come to life.”

READ ALSO: Meet the new face of women's tennis: Garbiñe Muguruza

TENNIS

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca

Rafael Nadal married his partner of 14 years, Xisca Perello, at a castle in Mallorca on Saturday.

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca
Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

Nadal, the 19-time grand slam champion, tied the knot with 31-year-old Perello at La Fortaleza, with a reported 350 guests invited to a private ceremony.

Juan Carlos I, the king of Spain from 1975 to 2014, was believed to be among those in attendance while the Michelin-star chef, Quique Dacosta, was reportedly in charge of catering.

The newlyweds shared some official photos of the day through the Fundacion Rafa Nadal, the NGO the tennis player set up on Mallorca

Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

 

Nadal, 33, met his wife through his younger sister Maribel, a childhood friend of Perello.

They started dating in 2005 when they were both teenagers after meeting several years before.


Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

The couple announced their engagement in January and revealed that the tennis ace had proposed on a romantic trip to Rome last May but chose to  keep the news private.

 

Perello, has always shunned the media spotlight although she has been pictured courtside at some of Nadal’s biggest matches.


Nadal kisses Perello after winning against France's Gael Monfils in the final tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco on April 17, 2016. 

But she isn't always there. In a 2011 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Perello explained: “He needs his space when he is competing, and just the idea of me hanging around and waiting on his needs all day tires me out.

“It would asphyxiate me. And then he would have to be worrying about me… No. If I followed him everywhere, I think there's a risk we might stop getting along.”

She works in insurance and is a business graduate but also serves as project director for the Rafa Nadal Foundation, the charity which Nadal launched almost ten years ago.

In an interview with sports newspaper Marca last year, the world number 2 hinted that he wouldn't be ready to start a family until he had retired from tennis. 

'I keep my commitment with tennis and my happiness', Nadal told Marca. 'I enjoy both in tennis and outside it. I have a girlfriend too and I am not alone to take decisions.

“Having family? I don't know, things are not easy to be predict. At this age, I thought that I would have already been a former player and that I would have started a family.”

READ ALSO: Rafa Nadal donates €1million to help victims of Mallorca floods 

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