Davis Cup format to be changed

The controversial proposals to revamp the Davis Cup and turn it into a season-ending 18-team event have been reportedly supported by national tennis federations, international news agencies reported on Friday, August 17.

A two-thirds majority among the 140 member nations of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) was needed for the change to the structure of this annual tournament, which was inaugurated as far back as in 1900.

The 25-year £2.15bn plan funded by an investment group led by footballer Gerard Pique is to start in 2019.

“Sometimes things have to change, or they have the risk to die,” said Pique.

The Davis Cup has been played in the current format since 1981.

“I can understand for a very traditional tournament like the Davis Cup, it’s difficult for people and they have doubts,” Pique has told media.

“Everyone agrees that change has to be done, but there are some people who think it needs other changes and that is something I can understand.”

ITF chief executive David Haggerty said the decision would elevate the Davis Cup “to new standards”.

“This new event will create a true festival of tennis and entertainment which will be more attractive to players, to fans, to sponsors and to broadcasters,” he added.

Players were not consulted in the process, but 71% of the voting federations backed the proposals at the AGM in Orlando on Thursday.

The Lawn Tennis Association, Britain’s governing body, opposed the proposals, saying it was concerned about scheduling, financing and the division between member nations.

The ATP intends to stage a revamped World Team Cup in Australia in the first week of January from 2020 – less than two months after the conclusion of the Davis Cup final in November. (BBC Sport)