Davis Cup, Fed Cup set for revamp

In recent seasons, players have often complained of the scheduling and format of the Davis and Fed Cups. 

AFP| Updated: Sep 21, 2016, 23:10 PM IST
Davis Cup, Fed Cup set for revamp

Paris: The Davis Cup and Fed Cup will be revamped with neutral venues planned for the finals and the current best-of-five sets format for men possibly ditched, organisers said Wednesday.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) also said that the Fed Cup women`s tournament could move to a 16-team World Group to bring it into line with the Davis Cup.

Both tournaments have traditionally staged their season climaxes on the home ground of one of the finalists but the ITF said they will launch "an open bid process to assess fixed host cities... a model used by events including the UEFA Champions League Final, Superbowl and European Rugby Champions Cup".

"This is an exciting moment in the storied histories of these two much-loved competitions," said ITF president David Haggerty.

In recent seasons, players have often complained of the scheduling and format of the Davis and Fed Cups. Another proposal would be to see a Davis Cup weekend cut from three days to two.

Last week`s Davis Cup semi-finals were held just five days after the US Open with Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro slugging out a five-hour, five-set opening rubber in the clash between Argentina and Great Britain in Glasgow.

World number two Murray, who led Britain to their first Davis Cup in 79 years in 2015, said he welcomed some of the changes.

"I like the idea of changing the format, maybe shorten the weekend," said the Wimbledon and Olympic champion at the semi-final last weekend.

"For me personally, coming off the back of the Olympics, Cincinnati, the US Open and then being on court for 10 or 11 hours over three days, was really hard."

Murray, however, said he was not a fan of fixed cities for the final.

"I do love the home and away atmosphere that we get in the Davis Cup just now," he said.

"It is something that we as tennis players aren`t really used to because when we travel around the world we are playing in neutral venues a lot of the time and the home and away aspect of the Davis Cup is something that I enjoy and makes it different and special."

Haggerty insisted that the formats can be improved.

"Davis and Fed Cup remain the world`s largest annual team events in sport, they are unmatched in terms of fan passion and excitement but we must continue to enhance and innovate. A fixed final for Davis Cup will replicate the approach -- seen in many other sports -- for the tennis season`s finale that players, fans, partners and broadcasters can better plan for," he added.

A bidding process for cities interested in hosting the finals will begin in December, said the ITF, with a decision expected next summer.

Other proposals must be approved by the ITF`s annual general meeting next year, with any changes to be introduced in 2018.