In an interview, FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique recalled how he managed to fly from Spain to the United States in 2018 to get approval for Davis Cup's new format despite having a pre-season training for FC Barcelona.
Pique said: “There was a crucial vote with the ITF last August approve the plans for the Davis Cup. I went to Ernesto in the build-up to our Super Cup Final against Sevilla and asked him permission to attend. He was unsure.
We won 2-1 and I scored. I went back to him and he said that I was able to go”. Pique also spoke about Ferguson and Murray: "I know Sir Alex watched Andy win the US Open in 2012 but I remember, even five years previously, he followed his matches a lot on TV when I was at United.
Sir Alex was like a second father to me when I arrived at the club because I was only 17 years old and I had left my family and friends in Barcelona. He helped me a lot and I was so impressed with the way he dealt with the pressure.
He was our coach but at the same time, he was a manager. He controlled the whole club and showed leadership every time. I learned from him every day. I’m still in contact with him and when I see him we have great conversations around different things in life”.
On Pique being an investor in tennis, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde added: "There is nothing to worry about, it's all good with Pique. It's true that he was in some places, but we expect him to have a good year like the previous one.
If he wants to watch some tennis match for a while, it's his free time." On Rakitic, he said: "He was not influenced by anything. At the end of the day we have many players in the centre of the team and that Rakitic, Arthur, Arturo or Busquets do not play is news. It's difficult that all the mid-fielders play. De Jong and Sergi Roberto are playing as mid-fielders."