Home And Away Ties To Stay In Bid To Save Proposed Davis Cup Revamp
The ITF hopes to attract support for their proposed changes to the team event with a new compromise
The president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has confirmed that home-and-away ties will be used during the opening round of the Davis Cup in a plan to revamp the competition.
Earlier this year David Haggerty revealed plans for week-long 18-team event taking place at one location each year. Changing the current format of the competition, which takes place at various stages throughout the year. The proposal has already secured financial backing from Kosmos, the investment company owned by Barcelona F.C. footballer Gerard Pique. Should it get the go ahead, Kosmos will invest $3 billion over a 25-year period.
The proposal has prompted backlash from some members of the tennis community. Who have accused the ITF of trying to damage the competition by removing home and away ties. French player Lucas Pouille has previously threatened to boycott any new-look event and Lleyton Hewitt has accused the governing body of having ‘their heads in the sand.’ Yannick Noah, who is the captain of the French Davis Cup team, also previously said the new plans would turn the event into a ‘circus.’ Amid the uproar, the ITF have adjusted their plans in a bid to win over support.
“We are looking at a round of 24 home-and-away ties in February, in the week after the Australian Open, producing 12 winners.” Haggerty told The Telegraph.
“They would then go on to the November tournament, along with the four semi-finalists from the previous year, and two invited teams.”
“It’s important for the national federations to be able to stage ties. It’s a way of promoting the sport and of connecting with fans.” He later added.
Should the plan be passed, it is likely that the first week-long tournament will be help in Europe at the end of 2019. Both Spain and France have been mentioned as potential hosts of the tournament. Officials want the event to be held in the continent due to its close proximity to the ATP Finals, which takes place at the O2 Arena in London.
“It would be easier for the players to stay in Europe, with the way the end of the season is set up,” Haggerty said. “Although things might change if the ATP World Tour Finals were to move away from London after 2020.”
In August a vote will take place on the proposal at a ITF AGM meeting in America. It requires at least two thirds of backing from members in order for it to go ahead.
Fed Cup faces similar changes
The Fed Cup is also in line to experience similar changes in the future. Earlier this year the president of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, said that plans are underway to expand the size of the women’s group. The top group of the competition currently features eight teams.
“The purpose of the reform is to favour more teams in the World Group.” Giudicelli told reporters.
Haggerty has weighed in on the speculation by saying the ITF plans to change the structure of the Fed Cup in 2020 to bring it in line with the men’s competition.
“We’re all for equality,” said Haggerty. “The Davis Cup reform is a very big project. We’re looking to get it set up from next year and then we will try to take the Fed Cup in the same direction.”
Any future proposal would also be subjected to a vote.