ITF to vote on overhaul of Davis Cup format

Leon Smith called Britain’s fans “sensational” during the team’s run to the title in 2015

The reforms have the backing of a $3 billion partnership from the Kosmos investment group, founded by Barcelona football star Gerard Pique and supported by Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani.

Haggerty dismissed the criticisms, however, and insisted the changes would help generate an extra $25 million (£19.6 million/€22 million) which would be pumped into the development of tennis.

Ties would feature only two singles and a doubles games in a reduction on the current four singles and one doubles format. The six group winners and two more teams with the best records would qualify for the single-elimination quarterfinal round.

The 25-year contract with Kosmos, a European-based holding company focused on building a global portfolio of media and sports assets, will seek to revamp the historic competition, effectively creating a fifth grand slam event, and generate substantial revenues for global tennis development.

Another backer of the idea is USA 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.

The Australian misgivings mirrored comments from other regions.France legend Yannick Noah, who captained the country to the Davis Cup in 2017, said the changes represented the death knell for the tournament. Hewitt feels that the changes are just to make money and the history of tournament is not taken care of.

Haggerty admitted that while "change is hard sometimes", he had been encouraged by positive feedback from delegates in Florida this week.

"The mood is good. The reception has been very positive", he said. The new model allows the ITF to fulfil the mission in a much better way.

The tournament could become one of the most important events of tennis and could be termed as the 5th Grand Slam of the calendar year.

The 13-time Grand Slam victor believes a change in format is long overdue.

He doesn't want a format change that might deny him such a thrill. And I'm all in favour of that", Djokovic said in Toronto this week."You play one year, and then the next year you don't play. Many top players have skipped it in recent years to ease their schedule load.

The ITF's member nations will vote on the proposal at its annual general meeting in Orlando, Florida, with a two-thirds majority needed to put a plan that has divided the sport into action.

A wildcard is the revived ATP World Team Cup set for January 2020 with 24 teams, prize money and rankings points in Australia ahead of the Australian Open.

ATP executive chairman Chris Kermode has acknowledged the problems of staging the new event just six weeks after the proposed Davis Cup, describing the scheduling as "insane".

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