Published: Sat, August 18, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

British tennis body to vote against controversial Davis Cup reform

British tennis body to vote against controversial Davis Cup reform

A World Cup-style tennis tournament could spell the end of the Davis Cup and "has disaster written all over it", Australian Grand Slam and Davis Cup victor Pat Cash tells BBC Radio 4's Today.

The makeover to one of sport's most famous and oldest worldwide team tournaments has been a contentious issue within tennis but the ITF's plans received the necessary two-thirds majority from its 210 member nations.

The first edition of the newly-reformed tournament, dubbed the World Cup of Tennis, will be held in either Madrid or Lille in 2019, with the host due to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

From next year the 18 countries will be divided into six groups with each qualifying round consisting of three matches - two singles and one doubles - of best-of-three sets.

The home-and-away element will now be restricted to a two-day tie in February as part of the qualifying round.

Those teams will be joined by the four semi-finalists from the previous year, along with two wild-card teams who need to either be in the top 50 of the Davis Cup rankings or have a top 10 singles player to be eligible.

The winners, along with the next two teams with the best records, will advance to the single-elimination quarter-finals.

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The ITF has worked together with Gerard Pique, President and Founder of Kosmos investment group (backed by Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani) and they arranged a $3 billion, 25-year agreement that will completely change this competition that started way back in 1900! Top-ranked Rafael Nadal is expected to play for Spain, but Roger Federer has frequently passed on playing for Switzerland.

The new format would cut the Davis Cup time commitment in half.

Another Australian, John Millman tweeted: "Hey @daviscup Quick question". In addition, Tennis Canada announced its support for the reform.

"We are very pleased the ITF member nations voted to approve the Davis Cup proposal", the USTA said in a statement.

Great Britain, who won the Davis Cup in 2015, face Uzbekistan in a world group play-off in Glasgow next month.

Chief executive David Haggerty said the decision would elevate the Davis Cup "to new standards".

"This is the beginning of a new stage that guarantees the pre-eminent and legitimate place that the Davis Cup should have as a competition for national teams while adapting to the demands of this professional sport at the highest level", he said in a statement that was poorly received by former players.

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