'A complete game-changer' - Davis Cup could be overhauled for new World Cup of Tennis



Associated Press

The Davis Cup could be transformed into a one-week, one-location, 18-nation World Cup of Tennis in a major overhaul aimed at enticing the best men's players to play.

Swiss players celebrate winning the Davis Cup

Source: Associated Press

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are among the stars to have reacted positively to the creation of an annual season-ending event, starting in 2019, that will have a total purse of $20 million.

"We think the change we are making will make it so much more appealing and tangible to the top players," David Haggerty, president of the International Tennis Federation, told The Associated Press.

Established in 1900, the Davis Cup has struggled for relevance at times in a crowded sporting calendar in recent years because many top players have chosen not to play.

In this revamp, the World Cup of Tennis would be played over seven days in the traditional week of the Davis Cup final, rather than across four weekends in February, July, September, and November. It would comprise a round-robin format followed by a quarterfinal knockout stage. Each tie would be best-of-three sets and consist of two singles and a doubles.

Sixteen teams would automatically qualify for the finals, and two more would be selected.

"In November 2018, players will know who is playing in November 2019 and they'll be able to factor that into their plans, travel, and prioritize it," Haggerty said in a phone interview. "Now, you may know where your first tie is, but you're not sure where your second would be. You're not sure of the surface.

"There are some uncertainties and this will bring some clarity to it to help make the commitment to play."

The ITF board unanimously endorsed the proposal, which will be submitted at the ITF's annual general meeting in Florida in August.

Haggerty said a decision on the venue for the inaugural competition will be taken in four to six weeks. There has been interest in the United States and Asia, among others.

It will be on a hard court to begin with, so players featuring in the ATP Finals in November don't have to change surfaces.

"We want to find a relevant city that is world class," Haggerty said, "where sport and entertainment can come together, where fans will travel."

Haggerty said the ITF's long-term goal is to turn the Fed Cup into a similar one-week event.

"This is a complete game-changer for the ITF and for tennis," he said.

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