Davis Cup reform: Nations vote for 18-team season-ending event

Davis Cup reform: Nations vote for 18-team season-ending event

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Watch: The moment Pouille seals France Davis Cup titleControversial proposals to revamp the Davis Cup and turn it into a season-ending 18-team event have been backed by national tennis federations.
A two-thirds majority among the 140 nations was needed at the International Tennis Federation (ITF)’s annual general meeting.
The ITF has outlined a 25-year, $3bn (£2.15bn) plan with an investment group founded by footballer Gerard Pique.

The Lawn Tennis Association, Britain’s governing body, opposed the proposals.
The LTA said it remained concerned around scheduling, financing and the division between member nations.
The ATP also 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 finale in November.
Despite a mixed reaction from players, who were not consulted in the process, 71% of the vote backed the ITF proposals at the AGM in Orlando on Thursday.

Britain won the Davis Cup in 2015 for the first time since 1936What is the current format and how will it change?
The Davis Cup, founded in 1900, is one of the world’s largest international team competitions with 132 nations taking part in 2018.
Sixteen nations compete in the World Group in a straight knockout, while the remaining countries are divided into three regional zones depending on their location.
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.
However, an increasing number of top players have skipped matches in recent years to ease their schedule.
The reformed event would see matches played over the best of three sets, culminating in a World Cup-style tournament to determine the world champions.
Twenty-four teams would compete in home and away ties in February, with 12 winning teams advancing to the finals in November.
The four semi-finalists from the previous year’s tournament, plus two wildcards, would complete the 18 teams.
The finals – to be staged in a European city – would be a round-robin format before a knockout phase, with matches consisting of two singles and one doubles rubber.
Who is backing the new event?
Barcelona and former Spain defender Pique founded and leads the investment group Kosmos, which is backed by Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani.
Announcing the proposals in February, Pique said: “Together we can elevate the Davis Cup to new heights by putting on a must-see World Cup of Tennis Finals featuring the top nations and top players.”
American billionaire Larry Ellison, who runs the Indian Wells tournament, has said he will also invest.
“The money that we make will be put back to the nations for their development programs and the future of tennis,” ITF chief executive David Haggerty said.
World number one Rafael Nadal and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic are among the players who have supported reform.
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