Pato Clavet: «We were afraid of the public’s response without Spain, but the attendance has been a success»
One of the greatest achievements of Francisco Pato Clavet’s career is, he says loudly, winning the Salad Bowl of 2000. Today he sees the competition from the other side, deputy director of the Davis Cup 2021, and admits to his journey with ABC in a Lexus of the organization that, when playing, was not as aware of what it is like to handle such a large event. «I had to worry about fewer things, of course. On the track it was different, but the logistics were simpler ”, he jokes.
Two days from the end, what is the summary you would make of this Davis Cup 2021?
We are very satisfied with how the competition is working and has worked during these days.
The balance is very positive, at the competition level, of the teams that have come. They have all been well, they have sent us their congratulations, they have been very happy and very comfortable. At the level of public attendance it has also been a success. Despite the fact that Spain could not pass the group stage, what we can take positive is that people have continued to attend the other games and we are very happy because in almost all the qualifying rounds the entrance has been wonderful.
What has been the progress over 2019?
The subject of the venues is very important. Having divided the countries into three different venues, with six groups of three teams, has helped at all levels: logistics, organization, competition, training. It is more difficult because you have to coordinate the three venues, but I think it is one of the positive things that has been learned from the last edition. Little by little things are being implemented that are learned from the experience and that help the next one. I think that the most important thing has been that, the three venues and that two quarters, the semifinals and the final are concentrated in Madrid.
Have you been able to watch tennis these days?
Yes, I have been busy, attending to many things. But I’ve been lucky to have time to watch matches and playoffs that have been very interesting. There have been extraordinary matches, in addition to the already established great players, also other players who have shown that they have a very high level of tennis and that they give a show. People have also had fun meeting new faces. This format, being two singles and one doubles, is much more open and gives rise to more surprises and that makes the competition more interesting.
What has been the response from the players?
Overall quite positive. The acceptance has been very good. Most of them are very happy. Obviously there are things to improve, you have to look at the calendar, see where it fits best for them, for their year, the subject of venues … There are things that need to be adjusted, but we are on the right track, we are doing a good job . Agreeing with the players and the Federation, who are the ones who have the last word, but everyone has understood the concept, and that a great effort is being made by the organization so that there is a great implication on their part. They are all happy, they are enjoying. And hoping that it will be so for future editions.
Is this the Davis you would have liked to have as a tennis player?
At that time it was not even considered. Times change and something had to be done with the Davis Cup. It is a historic competition. At first the change in format was a bit of a shock in the tennis world because it was breaking with a tradition, but it was becoming somewhat obsolete. It was played throughout the year, the calendar was broken a lot, many players had already asked for it to be reformed. I think it has already been done. It’s a gamble, it’s a risk, but it had to be assumed. But it is being understood and it is going to prevail and it will be positive for tennis. The calendar will be shortened, it will focus on 10 days. When there are news, you have to assimilate, understand them and little by little people will appreciate it, just like the players, which is something positive.
What are you most satisfied with about this edition?
That in general everything has gone well and that the teams are satisfied. It is the main thing. That the players are happy and feel comfortable in the competition, that they want to come back, repeat and that they want to get involved.
And also with the response from the public. He has responded in an incredible way. We were a little scared in that sense, of how it was going to be especially when Spain didn’t play. But they have continued to come regardless of whether Spain played or not and that is something to be thankful for. And very pretty. After the effort of organizing an event of these characteristics that the public comes is a recognition of all that effort.
Is tennis the most difficult sport to manage?
Yes, it is not easy. As a player, I was not aware of what an organization of this type, of these characteristics and this magnitude, entails. Now I am really looking at it from the other side and all the people of Kosmos have incredible value and incredible merit. There are many things that you have to take into account: coordinate three venues, have teams come here, see who qualifies at the last minute. Many details that you have to take into account and that you have to solve on the fly because you cannot predict who will win or who will not win. It is not easy to organize it, but they have done an incredible job. Congratulations must be given.
Was it easier to be a tennis player? Did you sleep better?
Well, you had to worry about less things, that of course. Already on the track it was complicated, but the logistics were simpler. About sleeping, more or less, you have other concerns. How to play, the nerves of whether you are going to win. Each thing has its problems and concerns. But I have a good time. They are intense, long days, but when you enjoy yourself and have a good time, it becomes more bearable.
What can we expect from the 2022 edition?
The format will be very similar. They are working on more specific things. Talking to the players and looking for more comfortable dates for them and how to fit it in the best possible way. The fundamental thing is the issue of dates, but from there everything is quite well meshed.
Will Madrid be within the venues?
I would love to, but I neither know nor am I involved. We would all like it. But due to the rotating nature of the competition, it has to be in all countries. There are many requests from other countries that want to have the competition as well, as is normal. Madrid has been lucky to have the first edition and this and surely one more, or Madrid or some other city in Spain. But you also have to listen to other countries that want to have a competition as special as this one.