ITF announces Davis Cup transformation into World Cup of Tennis in 2019

The ITF has announced details of a Davis Cup shake-up with a 18-nation World Cup-style format

Marianne Bevis
By Marianne Bevis
Andy Murray
Andy Murray in Davis Cup action for GB Photo: Marianne Bevis

Content based on press release from ITF, 26 February 2018

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) today announced plans for a 25-year, $3 billion partnership with investment group Kosmos that will transform the World Group of the Davis Cup and generate substantial revenue for global tennis development.

The ITF Board of Directors unanimously endorsed a proposal to create a major new annual season-ending World Cup of Tennis Finals that will crown the Davis Cup champions. Featuring 18 nations and played over one week in November in a world-class location, the event will be staged by Kosmos in partnership with the ITF.

The investment from Kosmos, which was founded by Spanish football star Gerard Piqué, will include significant increases in prize money for players and ITF member nations, and the funding of grass roots projects and other tennis development programmes.

ITF President David Haggerty said: “This is a complete game-changer for the ITF and for tennis… Our vision is to create a major season-ending finale that will be a festival of tennis and entertainment, featuring the world’s greatest players representing their nations to decide the Davis Cup champions.

“This new partnership will not only create a true World Cup of Tennis, but will also unlock record levels of new investment for future generations of tennis players and fans around the world.”

Several world-class cities have already expressed interest in hosting the new event, and the ITF and Kosmos will continue discussions with a view to launching the Finals in 2019.

Under the plans, the World Cup of Tennis Finals will be played over seven days in November in the traditional week of the Davis Cup final.

[NB Editor note: This has usually taken place a few days after the conclusion of the ATP World Tour Finals, which brings together the eight top-ranked singles players and doubles pairs.]

The World Cup Finals will feature a round-robin format followed by a quarter-final knockout stage. Each tie will consist of two singles and one doubles over best-of-three sets. The 16 World Group nations will automatically qualify for the Finals, and a further two nations will be selected.

[NB Editor note: Ties currently comprise four singles and a doubles rubber, each played over best-of-five sets.]

There will also be a play-off round held during the Finals which will include the eight nations that qualify from the Zone Group I events. The eight play-off winners will earn a place in the following year’s Finals.

There will be no change to the format of Zone Group competition. In Zone Groups I and II, home-and-away ties will continue to be played during the traditional three three-day slots in the calendar.

[NB Editor note: Round 1 is played the weekend after the Australian Open; QFs are played on weekend after Indian Wells/Miami Masters double-header; SFs are in the weekend after US Open; final is the weekend after WTFs]

Zone Groups III and IV will continue to consist of week-long round-robin events.

The plans will be submitted to the ITF AGM, to be held in August in Orlando, Florida. A two-thirds majority will be required for final approval. The proposal is subject to further development, and the successful completion of due diligence and finalisation of a formal agreement. Further details will be announced in due course.

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