Orlando | ITF revamp Davis Cup proposal
In an attempt to bring the contesters into line, the ITF is amending its proposed new Davis Cup format before the Annual General Meeting this week.
The original proposal has been amended after some countries, with Australia being one of the most vocal, objected to simply an 18-team tournament at a neutral site, largely because of the loss of home matches.
The current proposal calls for 24 teams to play home-or-away matches in February, with the 12 winners moving into the final.
The money that we will make will go to the nations to put into their development programs for juniors and for the future of tennis. David Haggerty
They will be joined there by the four semi-finalists from the year before, and two wild-card teams.
ITF President David Haggerty is confident the proposal will go ahead, saying it will be good for the sport’s growth.
“The money that we will make will go to the nations to put into their development programs for juniors and for the future of tennis,” Haggerty said on Tuesday in a conference call with media.
It is hoped the new Davis Cup format will be more enticing for players as well as being more lucrative for nations.
In the current model, only the team hosting the Davis Cup sees much financial benefit, Haggerty said, whereas ”this will be $25 million of incremental funding that goes to 200 nations around the world for Davis Cup, for Fed Cup, and for development.”
The Davis Cup is currently contested over four weekends in February, July, September and November in the week after the Grand Slam tournaments, and many top players have skipped it in recent years before of concerns about over-scheduling.
”I think one thing the players told me back in September of 2016 when I met with them and in follow up, [is] that Davis Cup had to change,” Haggerty said.
He added that the players had recommended the one-week event, saying top players such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have backed the amended proposal, which would also shorten Davis Cup matches from best-of-five sets to best-of-three.
Teams that reach the final will now be placed into six three-team groups for round-robin play, where they will play two singles matches and one doubles match.
The six group winners plus the next two teams with the best records will qualify for the single-elimination quarter-final round.
The reforms have the backing of a $3 billion partnership over 25 years from the Kosmos investment group, founded by Barcelona football star Gerard Piqué, which in turn is supported by Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani and Indian Wells owner Larry Elisson, who announced last week that he has joined the Kosmos company as an investor.
About 120 ITF AGM delegates will vote on the amended proposal on Thursday in Orlando.