Pat Cash, Tennis Australia slam Davis Cup overhaul

Hope Soto
August 20, 2018

"Sad day for men's tennis #ITF have voted for new format of #DavisCup (its no longer Davis Cup) Fooling themselves if they think top players will play a 18 team comp over 1 week at the end of the year????"

Despite the Lawn Tennis Association's 11th-hour decision not to support the controversial plan on behalf of Great Britain, the ITF still surpassed the two-thirds majority required, receiving support from 71 per cent of member nations.

The first championship will be held on an indoor hardcourt from November 18-24, 2019, in either Madrid or Lille, France.

The Kosmos investment group are using Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique as their front man, and there were dozens of photographs circulating yesterday of Pique celebrating with various American tennis administrators.

"From our perspective the investment that goes into the Davis Cup means a considerable amount of money would then flow back out to the nations".

Aussie Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt calls the plan a "money grab" and Davis Cup legend John Newcombe said it was "a recipe for the death of the Davis Cup as we know it". The winners from each group and the two best runners-up will reach the quarter-final on Friday, while Saturday and Sunday will host the semi-final clashes and the final.

Beginning in 2019, the Davis Cup will be condensed from a almost year-round event to two weeks.

"The LTA remains fully supportive of the ITF and its leadership and we will work together on the future of Davis Cup regardless of the outcome of the vote", LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said.

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"I think Davis Cup has untapped potential".

The finalists will be placed into six, three-team groups for round robin play, involving two singles matches and one doubles match, all best-of-three-sets - instead of the current format that has four singles matches and one doubles match that are best-of-five.

"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". Yes the Davis Cup needed some changes but this I don't believe is the right formula.

Despite the farcical state of affairs, Australia could be forced to play the apparently redundant clay-court tie from September 14-16 - the weekend after the US Open - or risk being fined by the ITF or potentially suspended and docked world team rankings points.

The US $3billion [AU $4.13billion], 25-year agreement was approved at the organisation's conference in Orlando, Florida.

However, an increasing number of top players have skipped matches in recent years to ease their schedule.

World number one Rafael Nadal and 13-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic are among the players who have supported Davis Cup reforms. "I will miss Home and Away ties and many more aspects of the Davis Cup".

Pique spoke to the assembly and tried to heal the divide as well, saying, "To the ones that voted against we'll try to prove that we can deliver the greatest Davis Cup competition ever". "The new format will project Davis Cup into the 21st century and elevate tennis' premiere annual team competition to the heights it deserves".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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