Both the Davis Cup Finals by Rakuten in Madrid and the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals in Budapest, which were due to be played in April this year before postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been pushed back to 2021.
The 2020 Davis Cup Finals were due to take place from 23-29 November at Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain, but the 18-team event has been rescheduled for the week commencing 22 November 2021.
“It’s a huge disappointment for all of us that the Davis Cup Finals will not be held in 2020,” said Gerard Pique, Kosmos Tennis President.
“We don’t know how the situation will develop in each qualified nation, or if restrictions in Spain will remain sufficiently eased, as such it is impossible to predict the situation in November and guarantee the safety of those travelling to Madrid.
“This postponement has no long-term bearing on our collective ambitions for the Davis Cup. The ITF and Kosmos Tennis look forward to delivering an outstanding competition in 2021, when it is safe and feasible to do so.”
The decision to postpone the events comes following a three-month review of the considerable logistical and regulatory challenges that have arisen as a result of the pandemic and all potential hosting scenarios with the health and safety of all involved of paramount importance.
The Davis Cup Finals were set to see the world’s best 18 national teams competing, involving more than 90 athletes with significant support teams, as well as thousands of fans, officials, staff, partners and other stakeholders travelling from countries across the world, each at a different stage in dealing with the pandemic.
The challenges in hosting a mass gathering of this size on an international scale at an indoor venue are considerable due to the pandemic, both in the current and the anticipated climate.
The 18 teams which have already qualified for this year’s Finals will compete at the rescheduled Finals in 2021, with the draw for the Finals remaining as published.
David Haggerty, ITF President, said: “This is a tough decision to have to make, but delivering an international team event on this scale while guaranteeing the health and safety of all involved ultimately poses too great a risk.
“It is a complex undertaking and we have made the decision now to provide certainty for players, National Associations and fans.
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Kosmos Tennis in order to deliver a fantastic competition next year”.
In addition, the ITF Board announced that the 24 home-and-away World Group I and World Group II ties involving 48 national teams due to be played in September this year will be postponed until 2021, with ties to be played in either March or September.
The 2020 regional Group III and IV events, in which 76 national teams are entered, are also postponed until 2021.
The Fed Cup Finals face the same challenges, plus the Laszlo Papp Arena where they are due to be played is not available over the latter part of the year.
The Finals were set to see the world’s best 12 national teams competing over one week in a new-look format, with 60 athletes and their entourages as well as thousands of fans, officials, staff, and partners travelling from countries across the world.
The 12 teams which have already qualified for this year’s Finals will compete at the rescheduled Finals in April 2021, with the draw for the Finals remaining as published.
The 2020 Fed Cup Play-offs, which were also due to take place in April 2020, will now be played in February 2021. The draw for the Play-off ties will remain the same.
Additionally, the four outstanding 2020 regional events that were due to be played in 2020 (two events in Americas Group II, one event in Asia/Oceania Group II, and the Europe/Africa Group III event) will now be played in 2021, with dates to be announced in due course.
The Fed Cup competition will resume its annual format from 2022 onwards.
“Earlier this year, we took the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the first edition of the new-look Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals in Budapest due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Haggerty. “While it is regrettable that the Finals will not be able to take place this year, we are confident that we will be able to host a superb event in Budapest in April 2021.
“In these extraordinary times, we believe that the best way forward in order both to protect the health and safety of all involved and to best respect the integrity of the competition is to extend this year’s Fed Cup into 2021, with the event returning to an annual basis the following year.
“We would like to thank our partners, the Hungarian Government, for their hard work and continued commitment to the competition.”