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Major Davis Cup shake-up eyed by divided tennis leaders

20 August, 2018, 02:13 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • The Davis Cup is an 118-year-old competition

French legend Yannick Noah accused the International Tennis Federation of selling the soul of the Davis Cup last night, after a two-thirds majority voted in Orlando to reform the competition.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) voted to turn the sport's most famous and oldest international men's team tournament into an 18-team event at their annual general meeting in Florida on Thursday.

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. "The Davis Cup is dead and part of the history of our sport vanishes for a fistful of dollars".

Haggerty said the arrangement would provide about $25 million annually for national tennis associations to invest in grassroots level support.

The finals week will see a round robin event from Monday to Thursday, with the countries divided into six groups and each qualifying round consisting of three matches - two singles and one doubles - of best-of-three sets.

Many reactions to the vote mourned the death of the Davis Cup or a sellout move, with Britain, Germany and Australia among those opposing the plan.

"The money that we make will be put back to the nations for their development programs and the future of tennis", Haggerty said.

Another backer of the idea is United States billionaire Larry Ellison, who says he will invest in a revamped Davis Cup and says his Indian Wells facility is a candidate to host the event in 2021 after plans to host it for two years in Europe.

It is played in February, April and September and November at home and away venues, with each World Group tie played over three days in a best-of-five tie of five-set matches.

Tennis New Zealand is supporting a proposed change in the format for the Davis Cup.

Complicating the landscape is the revived ATP World Team Cup set for January 2020 with 24 teams, prize money and rankings points to be played in Australia ahead of the Australian Open.

As of 2019, and after 118 years, the Davis Cup will adopt a system similar to that of the great world competitions.

Australian professional John Millman tweeted: "How do you think a tennis player, backed by a billionaire, would fare wanting to change the whole format of football's 63 year old Champions League competition?" He also dearly wants to win the only ATP Masters 1000 title that has eluded him - nobody has won all nine. Many top players have skipped it in recent years to ease their schedule load.

World number one Rafael Nadal and 13-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic are among the players who have supported Davis Cup reforms.

"Today is a black day for the Davis Cup".

"Reform is vital for the competition but this proposal takes away too much of what makes the Davis Cup unique and special. the ITF now has a major responsibility to ensure the great heritage and prestige of the competition is somehow retained in this new version of Davis Cup".

The 12 winners will secure a direct place into the final tournament and will join the four semi-finalists of the previous year - who qualify without having to play in February - and two wildcards that will be announced before the draw for the qualifying round at the revamped event.



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