Davis Cup overhauls format with season-ending team event

Doug Mendoza
August 19, 2018

However, an increasing number of top players have opted not to play in recent years due to the hectic schedule. "It guarantees the future of Davis Cup for 25 years". For it to be passed, two thirds of the 147 member nations will have to vote in favour.

The reform plan will create a November finals with 18 teams: 12 winners from 24-team home and away qualifying in February, the prior year's four semi-finalists and two wild-card nations.

They would be split into six groups of three teams, with the group winners and two runners-up advancing to knock-out rounds.

All matches, both singles and doubles, will be best-of-three sets rather than best-of-five.

Eighteen teams will meet in a single city for a week to decide the victor, first through the league and then - from the quarterfinals - through direct confrontation.

The format will now centre on an 18-team World Cup of Tennis Finals, the first edition of which will be held in Madrid or Lille in November 2019. ITF president David Haggerty said he expected an announcement confirming the location in the next two weeks.

The 25-year agreement, funded by the Kosmos investment group founded by soccer player Gerard Pique, represents a total investment of $3 billion into tennis.

There was never a consideration of easing in changes to the Davis Cup to allow players to adjust to it. Vijay Amritraj had once proposed to have the tournament organised once every two years.

The new format will involve a qualifying round in February, in which 24 teams will take part in home and away matches.

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The players were not consulted in the process.

A common criticism against this new format, one that hopes to attract elite players who commonly skip Davis Cup matches because of a grueling almost 12-month schedule, is that it still won't entice the world's very-best to play because of how much tennis will need to be played in such a condensed amount of time in order to finish the event - one that takes place near the end of the year.

"I am obviously totally against these changes to Davis Cup and pretty frustrated by what has occurred and the lack of information available", said Hewitt, a two-time victor of the Davis Cup and Australia's most successful singles player in the century-old event. Haven't received the memo yet.

"We all have to come together. we all want what's best for tennis and the Davis Cup", Haggerty said.

Tennis Australia was "extremely disappointed with the radical changes", the federation said in a statement.

"Reform is vital for the competition but this proposal takes away too much of what makes the Davis Cup unique and special, especially the home and away aspect which has brought elite tennis to so many fans around the world", Tennis Australia said.

Pique spoke to the assembly and tried to heal the divide as well, saying, "To the ones that voted against we'll try to prove that we can deliver the greatest Davis Cup competition ever". The prized Davis Cup has now become a direct rival to that.

"Now I need to celebrate with the team, rest a lot because I have a football game on Saturday - my career is very important also - and then start to work for the Davis Cup".

The organization said the new format will "project Davis Cup into the 21st century" and elevate the competition to "the heights it deserves".

Other reports by GizPress

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